Posts Tagged ‘dance’

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review

Price: £19.99
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Date Tested: 26/03/2014

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

Note: Early Access Reviews are critical appraisals of games still in development which are charging money for player access to their alpha and beta stages. This review is intended to give you an idea of whether the game is currently worth investing in, but without offering a final verdict.

Take a cursory glance at DayZ and it appears little has changed in the four months since release. The major content Bohemia are planning for the mod; namely vehicles, craftable bases, and broader communication channels such as radios, are still a long way from being added. Investigate a little further, however, and you’ll discover that significant changes have been made, but they’re many and small rather than large and few.

For example, rain was added about a month ago, and now players can catch the water droplets in their canteens, making it ever so slightly easier to acquire this vital resource. In addition, players can aim their guns while sat down, enabling them to sit around a campfire with friends without completely compromising their safety, or keep watch over player prisoners in a more casual, more disturbing manner.

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

There are lots of different little channels that feed into DayZ’s remarkable success since it debuted on Steam Early Access at the end of last year. But one of them is this detailed way in which players can interact with their environment and the other players they encounter in post-apocalypse Chernarus. It’s this granularity of experience which Bohemia have been chasing since the Standalone release.

To understand the importance of this, it’s necessary to grasp the basis of what DayZ is, and the developer’s intent behind it. For all its layers of complexity, your ultimate goal when playing DayZ is the most basic possible. Stay alive. Do not die. See that bucket? Avoid kicking it. This is done by seeing to your needs, avoiding the zombies scattered around the environment like organic litter, and performing the delicate and potentially deadly social dance with fellow survivors you’ll inevitably encounter during your travels.

Your objective may be simple, but achieving it is anything but. Resources are scarce, and you require lots of food and water just to keep your body functional. The first hour or so of a DayZ life are a half-terrifying, half-gleeful rush as you frantically scour thenearest village for supplies, interspersed with moments of bravely running away from the prowling zombies.

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

If you’re very lucky you might find enough food and water to keep you healthy. More typically you’ll either bleed to death after being attacked by your first zombie, or find nothing but rotten food, eat that in desperation, become sick, and spend the next half hour hopelessly searching for the right medication before ultimately collapsing. This is of course an entirely hypothetical scenario and definitely not what happened to me in my first and second lives.

Learning how to cope in this extremely harsh environment is a big factor in what makes DayZ so compelling. So is learning how to navigate it. Modern games are obsessed with keeping the player oriented, ensuring they always know where they are and where they are going, and there’s something about the challenge of being lost in a wilderness that is paradoxically liberating. The moment you first find a map in an abandoned car or inside a petrol station is breathlessly exciting. Then comes the puzzle of figuring out where you are on it, googling the Russian alphabet so you can translate the town signs written in Cyrillic to match them with the map names scribed in English.

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

It helps that Chernarus is an incredible foundation for a game like this. Its sweeping vistas, highly realistic terrain, foreboding climate and dilapidated Baltic settlements all contribute to the sense that this is a world where nature has wrested control back from humanity, but also as a place where hope still lingers. Trekking through one of DayZ’s many forests, watching the sunlight shaft through the canopy, listening to your plodding footfall and the twittering birds in the trees is an oddly relaxing experience, providing relief between frantic zombie combat and tense encounters with other survivors.

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Warhammer 40K themed mobile RPG in the works

Warhammer 40K themed mobile RPG in the works

Warhammer 40,000 has featured in turn-based and real-time strategy series and also third and first person shooters, but never a 2D side-scroller before.

Games Workshop’s grim science fiction miniatures property Warhammer 40,000 is heading to iOS in the form of a side-scrolling action RPG.

Warhammer 40,000 Carnage will pit players in the role of a space marine churning through a horde of green-skinned orks, giving them the option to unlock further equipment that will be familiar to fans of the series, including chainswords, bolt guns and thunder hammers.

’We’ve taken the best of the Warhammer 40,000 universe and built a game that will appeal to seasoned 40k fans and more casual gamers alike,’ said developer Roadhouse Interactive president Tarrnie Williams. ’The game is full of explosive, adrenaline-fueled action, in stunning environments that will be familiar to many.’

The plot revolves around investigating a planet which has been consumed by collective insanity and violence, a plot device that will also be ‘familiar to many’ who have encountered the Warhammer 40,000 series before.

Best known as a tabletop wargaming franchise, Warhammer 40,000 has found its way into several video games over recent years, including 2011′s Space Marine, developed by Relic Entertainment, which also featured space marines cutting their way through hordes of orks.

Relic Entertainment, under the guidance of publisher THQ, also had a long stewardship over the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property through its Dawn of War real time strategy series, but following the dissolution of THQ the license was reported to have ended up at Slitherine, a smaller developer and publisher specialising in historical strategy games.

Another smaller studio, Zattikka, was also granted a Warhammer 40,000 license and planned to develop a 3D isometric free-to-play game using the setting, but the company went into administration in August last year before it could release anything.

Will you be checking out Warhammer 40,000 Carnage? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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Find your first tweet: Twitter opens archive for its birthday

Craves first tweet

Crave’s first tweet was all about a CPU cooler.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

I honestly couldn’t remember what my first tweet was about. I joined Twitter back in 2010 and have generated 1,559 tweets since then. Too many to recall them all. In celebration of its 8th birthday, Twitter is making easy for forgetful people like me to discover the very tweet that started the journey. Your first tweet.

Using the site, you can enter your Twitter username and instantly pull up that intelligent, insightful, and funny first tweet you posted. In my case, it was a deadly dull journalistic inquiry asking to get in touch with a press contact for a restaurant. Scintillating! If I had known I was going to be looking at my first tweet again years down the line, I would have composed something about “Star Trek” crossing over with “Doctor Who,” or perhaps an artfully beautiful haiku.

Fortunately, doesn’t limit you to your own output. You can check on other usernames as well. CNET’s first tweet in 2009 is all about ATT increasing a bounty on fiber vandals. You’ll find that some of today’s Twitter luminaries didn’t exactly shine in their first outings. Sir Patrick Stewart’s entry is a simple “Hi World.”

Geek star Wil Wheaton, however, fares better. Not only did he sign up way back in 2007, but he tweeted out this message to kick things off: “Trying to figure out if I signed up with ‘wilwheaton’ to prevent some jerk from stealing it, or if some jerk already stole it.” It has style. It has content. It was a portent of great Twitter things to come.

Perhaps my favorite first tweet so far comes from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak back in March 2009: “Rare massage (for me), then dance practice. No pain, no gain. Awkward but fun, this dancing. I still can’t do Macarena.” That tweet conjures up some delightful imagery.

If you really like your first tweet, you can re-broadcast it from the first-tweets site. I won’t be doing that. Go look at your first tweet and report back. Tell us in the comments if it was a keeper or something you would rather keep locked away in the dusty drawer of your Internet past.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.s first tweet

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. chose his recent Daytona 500 win as his Twitter kick-off.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

(Via USA Today)

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Kaffe qif qiya! Finally, a course to help kids learn Dothraki

Completely appropriate for children, the Muzzy Dothraki language program will have your kids running their own khalasar in no time!

Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET)

Hey kids! Have you ever wanted to learn how to say “I will dance in your blood?” in the Dothraki language made popular on “Game of Thrones”? Parents, do you want to arm your kids with vital language skills in a world that’s increasingly being taken over by strange terms like “Valyrian steel,” and “mother of dragons?” If so, video-spoof-making team Nacho Punch has got just the thing for you.

Their latest YouTube parody takes a 1990s commercial for a video set that teaches kids to learn a foreign language by following along with the slightly creepy character “Muzzy,” and melds it with the fantasy world of “Game of Thrones.”

“With this unique language course,” the video says, “humans, giants and even bastards can learn a second language with incredible ease.” The course isn’t just for wannabe Dothraki speakers either. It also offers lessons in Valyrian, Hodor and White Walker.

The cost for the set of “four delightful videos” is a deal too: just three petrified dragon eggs, or 20 gold pieces a month for six months.

Even though the video is a spoof, such a language-learning set for Dothraki isn’t really that crazy. The language actually exists. It was created by David Peterson, who won a contest sponsored by the Language Creation Society to invent the vocabulary and grammar for the HBO show. It has more than 3,000 words and a Web site that tells you all you’d ever really want to know about speaking the language.

The Muzzy/Dothraki mashup is just one of the latest in a long line of Nacho Punch short animations like “Star Wars: The Lost 1980s Anime,” humorous series like “Robin Banks and the Bank Roberts,” and spoof videos like “Hipsters Love Beer,” which went viral after it was released in January, according to the Nacho Punch peeps.

So act soon to reserve a Dothraki Muzzy language course for your kids, because you never know when they’ll need to talk their way out a tricky situation with a nomadic horde at school. And Qafak qov kaffe qif qiya fini kaf faqqies fakaya! (That means, “The trembling questioner crushed the bleeding boar that squished a kicking corn bunting,” but I’m still learning, so give me a break.)

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Paleontologists discover ‘chicken from hell’ dinosaur

Anzu wyliei
Bob Walters)

A 66-million-year-old dinosaur has been discovered — a birdlike creature that provides palaeontologists with a first in-depth look at an oviraptorosaurian species called Caenagnathidae (SEE-nuh-NAY-thih-DAY) — one that has long been difficult to study, since most remains have only been skeletal fragments.

Named Anzu wyliei (Anzu after a bird-demon from Mesopotamian myth and wyliei after Wylie, the grandson of a Carnegie museum trustee), the new species was put together from three separate skeletons found in North and South Dakota, forming almost one entire skeleton. The resultant dinosaur measures 3.5 metres from nose to tail-tip, weighing in at 225 kilograms (496 pounds), with sharp claws and a feathered body — resembling, according to the researchers, led by Matthew Lamanna of Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, a “chicken from hell.”

“It was a giant raptor, but with a chickenlike head and presumably feathers. The animal stood about 10 feet (3 metres) tall, so it would be scary as well as absurd to encounter,” said University of Utah biology postdoctoral fellow and study co-author Emma Schachner.

“We jokingly call this thing the ‘chicken from hell,’ and I think that’s pretty appropriate,” added Lamanna.

Anzu wyliei
Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

The three partial skeletons were excavated from the Hell Creek rock formation in North and South Dakota, a region famed for its abundance of dino skeletons, including Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops. The new dinosaur would, the researchers said, have resembled a giant flightless bird — much more so than more “typical” theropod species, such as Tyrannosaurus rex. A bony crest, similar to that found on the Australian cassowary, rises on its head, and its legs were long, slender, and strong, also like the cassowary. It had no teeth, but a strong beak, and it was found alongside fossilized feathers, heavily indicating that the dinosaur was feathered.

However, it wasn’t entirely birdlike — its forelimbs were tipped with sharp claws, and it had a long, strong tail.

The discovery is the first clear skeleton found belonging to the Caenagnathidae since the species was first discovered and described by paleontologist Charles Whitney Gilmore 100 years ago. It has allowed researchers for the first time to explore in greater detail Caenagnathid anatomy, and reconstruct the species’ evolution. Its anatomy and environment have also delivered new information about Caenagnathid diet and habitat preferences; the dinosaurs, the team believes, were omnivores that preferred humid floodplain environments.

Anzu in particular seems to have lived a pretty dangerous life; two of the three skeletons show evidence of breaks and fractures. However, the fact that these injuries had healed indicated that the hell-chickens were hardy, able to survive quite a bit of trauma.

A fully articulated cast of the dinosaur is on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the full research paper can be seen online in the journal PLOS One.

(Source: Crave Australia)

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Dancing with the ‘Star Wars’: Billy Dee Williams cha-chas as Lando

Actor Billy Dee Williams channeled Lando Calrissian with his crowd-pleasing Star Wars Cha-Cha routine for his Dancing with the Stars debut.

Actor Billy Dee Williams channeled Lando Calrissian with his crowd-pleasing “Star Wars” cha-cha routine for his “Dancing with the Stars” debut.


Shimmying stormtroopers. R2-D2 beeping to disco music. Lando Calrissian taking Princess Leia for a spin on the dance floor. While it sounds like one of the gaming levels in “Star Wars Kinect,” this was the “Dancing with the Stars” debut of actor Billy Dee Williams and his dance partner Emma Slater.

Dressed in a costume reminiscent of his role as Lando Calrissian, Williams began the cha-cha number flanked by stormtroopers and announced by a beeping R2-D2. His dancing partner donned a costume inspired by Princess Leia’s metal bikini in “Return of the Jedi,” as well as her famous hair buns.

MECO’s disco remix of the “Star Wars” and “Cantina” themes accompanied the dancers, complete with a spinning intergalactic backdrop. And yes, even the stormtroopers danced.

Williams, age 76, is no spry Jedi. His past health battles with arthritis and two hip replacements may deter him from being a top competitor on the hit show, but his impressive showmanship is worthy of a Lobot slow-clap.

While Ewoks cheered from the audience, the judges weren’t as impressed, giving the number the lowest score of the night.

Comparing Williams’ dancing technique to C-3PO’s robotic moves, judge Bruno demanded the drama of Darth Vader. Judge Carrie Ann called Williams “the most relaxed dancer I’ve ever seen” and asked him to step it up next time. Judge Len was impressed Williams remembered his routine and its overall entertainment value.

Billy Dee Williams may not have impressed Princess Leia as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars, but he makes up for it with a dance number that might impress the likes of Jabba the Hutt.

Billy Dee Williams may not have impressed Princess Leia as Lando Calrissian in “Star Wars,” but he makes up for it with a dance number that might impress the likes of Jabba the Hutt.


Of course, this isn’t the first time a celebrity contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” has shown off fancy Force footwork. ‘N Sync’s Joey Fatone also paid tribute to “Star Wars” by dancing the tango dressed as a Jedi, with his partner dressed in a costume modeled after Slave Leia’s bikini — all to the “Star Wars” theme.

While Fatone’s dance number was much more energetic than Williams’ slower moves, “Star Wars” numbers never fail to excite the show’s audience. Perhaps it’s not the skills that matter, but the heartfelt passion behind the dance routine itself that makes even Ewoks get up and yell “Yub Nub.”

Tune in to “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC for more dancing by Williams, and if we’re lucky, a few more stormtroopers.

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Victor the trash-talking robot hates losing at Scrabble

Watch out or Victor the Gamebot might start insulting you.

Debra Tobin/CMU)

Scrabble can bring out a healthy sense of competition among humans, but what about robots? The robotics department at Carnegie Mellon University created a robot named Victor who can play Scrabble, just not very well. But that doesn’t stop him from blaming his opponents for his double-word-score shortcomings.

Victor has a head with an animated face complete with glasses, blond hair, and even a collegiate soul patch, but his fiberglass body lacks arms. He can move, look at the board, and talk to people. He sits at a table at the lounge in CMU’s Gates computer science building waiting for a human to challenge him to a match. Just don’t expect any friendly banter.

Lobbing regular insults such as “Your word scored less than a CMU student at a party” and “I have seen better, but not from you,” may not win him any points for good manners, but Victor still intrigues humans enough that they want to challenge him to a Scrabble match just to see what he’ll comment on next.

“He’s a terrible loser,” CMU robotics Professor Reid Simmons explained in a Wall Street Journal video. “One of the things we’ve done in collaboration with the drama department is giving him different moods. When he gets ahead he goes into a happy mood. When he’s losing he gets into an angry mood and he’ll trash-talk people and he’ll be self-deprecating.”

While human players can use any word legally allowed in the official Scrabble dictionary, poor Victor is only equipped to use 8,592 words selected from “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” a book Simmons enjoyed reading as a teenager, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Simmons and his team created Victor in 2009 to test human interactions with robots, making them more likely to be treated as companions instead of other machines like a toaster or dishwasher. While we’ve seen robots pole dance, solve a Rubik’s Cube, and tell jokes at comedy clubs, this is the first time robots have been given permission to throw a fit while losing at Scrabble.

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OK, Glass, have an NBA player dunk in my face

Sacramento Kings guard Ray McCollum slams home a dunk during a scrimmage while wearing Google Glass.

James Martin/CNET)

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–”This is the real Google,” taunted Sacramento Kings guard Orlando Johnson.

Johnson leaned in, dribbling a basketball, ready to explode to the hoop. Only teammates Ray McCallum and Jason Thompson stood in the way. Through the
Google Glass I was wearing, I watched Thompson prepare to stop Johnson. From Thompson’s exact point of view.

Moments earlier, I’d watched as McCallum had dribbled in, jumped high in the air, and dunked the ball hard. My view? A look at the rim from a couple of feet away, close enough to see the stitches on the net, again from Thompson’s vantage point,

Each of the three Kings was wearing Glass, and each was recording as they worked their way through an informal shootaround hours before the night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. As they played, they taunted and bragged, well aware of the technology they were wearing. “Google, record that,” one shouted as he made a sweet shot. “Google, stop Ray,” Johnson commanded.

Johnson, McCallum, and Thompson were wearing Google Glass as part of a new program the Kings have started that is designed to let fans see things like shootarounds, pre-game workouts, and even in-game huddles from the players’ perspective. Using technology developed by San Francisco’s CrowdOptic, the Kings plan on making feeds from Glass being worn by players, announcers, the team’s mascot, and even its cheerleaders, available during games to anyone running its app on their own Glass, on TV, and on the arena’s JumboTron. Unfortunately, players will not wear Glass during actual game action.

A Sacramento Kings cheerleader dances while wearing Google Glass. Her view was broadcast to the team’s JumboTron during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

James Martin/CNET)

The Kings’ experiment is an interesting one that promises to offer fans a unique new look at game day action. Along with other experiments, like accepting Bitcoin, using drones to shoot video inside the team’s Sleep Train Arena, and even incorporating Oculus Rift, the Kings are trying to take the lead among NBA teams when it comes to using technology to enhance fans’ experiences.

And no wonder, given that the team’s ownership group is packed full of tech heavyweights like Tibco Software founder Vivek Ranadive; Paul, Hal, and Jeff Jacobs (whose father founded Qualcomm); Leap Motion President (and former Apple vice president) Andy Miller; and former Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly. Thanks to those connections, the team, in its search for new tech to try out, is “literally one phone call away from every tech CEO in the world,” said Kings senior vice president for marketing and strategy Ben Gumpert.

But back to Glass. Here’s how it works.

When Glass records video, it can broadcast that feed, and CrowdOptic’s software can capture it, send it back out, allowing anyone running its app to “inherit” the feed. Although there’s a short delay, it means that an average Glass wearer — or later, someone running the CrowdOptic app on a smart phone — will be able to see just what I saw when I watched Thompson, Johnson, and McCallum play 1-on-2: an up close and very personal view of getting dunked on.

NBA dons Google Glass to put you in the game (pictures)

To start with, the Kings bought 10 pairs of Glass, meaning that at any one time, there are few possible feeds that fans could inherit. But over time, as the team buys more, or fans’ own Glass or smartphone feeds are incorporated into the mix, CrowdOptic’s algorithms will be brought to bear to help find the most compelling views for fans. As Jon Fisher, the company’s CEO explained, its technology is able to analyze multiple feeds coming from a similar location and choose the best one to share. Ultimately, when there’s hundreds, or even thousands, of feeds choose from, “the fans will be in charge,” said vice president of business development (and former NFL linebacker) Jim Kovach. “They’re going to see what they want to see.”

As far as the players are concerned, wearing Glass and using the hot wearable technology to give fans a little more access is a no-brainer. According to Thompson, the best way to use it is when doing “tricks and dunks, and flashy things….[You can] see different things, like the way people talk.”

That’s exactly what CrowdOptic is hoping pro sports teams will realize. In addition to the Kings, the company is working with a half-dozen other (as yet unnamed) NBA franchises, as well as some college teams. The technology, said Kovach, lets fans have a much closer look at players’ personalities. “They have their quirks, and you can’t pick that up from the stands,” Kovach said, referring to things like players messing around during workouts, or on the sidelines. “It’s just interesting to see.”

Sacramento Kings players Orlando Johnson, Ray McCallum, and Jason Thompson (left to right) scrimmage while wearing Google Glass.

James Martin/CNET)

To be sure, this technology isn’t ready for widespread deployment. Though the Kings have tested it out during two recent games, the team has so far only pushed the feeds to the arena’s JumboTron screen. For now, network support is the limiting factor. But soon, Glass wearers will be able to see what it’s liked to get dunked on by an NBA player.

“This is a new century,” Thompson said. “It’s 2014, and this is definitely the future, not just of basketball, but of the world.”

Then again, maybe McCallum put it better as he scrimmaged against Johnson and Thompson. “Oooooooh, Google,” the 22-year-old guard said as he drained a pretty bucket over his teammates.

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Crave Ep. 151: Neil Young’s Pono dreams soon to come true

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Neil Young’s PonoMusic service blew past its Kickstarter fundraising goal in one day. Are FLAC files the next wave in music? We also hear some jams from a cyborg drummer on Earth, and wake up to the sweet smells and sounds of the Bacon Alarm.

Crave stories:

- Robotic arm gives amputee drummer better beats

- Bacon alarm clock wafts meat odors from your iPhone

- Forget planking, #whaling is the hot new Vine trend

- Neil Young’s PonoMusic hits Kickstarter

- Watch robotic pole dancers shake their actuators

- Crave giveaway: $500 shopping spree from Shopping

Social networking:

- Stephen on Twitter

- Stephen on Google+

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Watch robotic pole dancers shake their actuators

Tobit Software)

No job is sacred any more: Even the technology trade show booth babe’s role has been taken over by robots. Lexy and Tess the robotic pole dancers drew a crowd Monday at the CeBit IT show in Hanover, Germany.

The pair were upgraded models for the Tobit Software booth, which has been displaying the dancers for a few years now. Designed by British artist Giles Walker, they’re made from 12V motors found in
cars (the kind that control the windshield wipers); have LED arrays instead of faces; and are controlled via PC, while their “male” counterpart, a DJ with a megaphone horn for a head, looks on.

Tobit altered the robots, which cost around $39,500 each, to make them a bit more “interesting,” a representative told RuptlyTV. “We changed them to get more color, we changed them to get bigger breasts,” he said, also indicating that the robots are now controllable via an
Android smartphone.

The dancing itself seems rather tame — the robots stand in place and gyrate their hips a little and move their free arms — so perhaps not every human achievement can be replicated by a robot. One that could dance like Anastasia Skukhtorova? Now that would be something.

(Source: Crave Australia via The Verge)

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