Upcoming industrial grand strategy game Victoria 3 finally has a release window, along with a new trailer.
Revealed shortly after the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase during the PC Gaming Show (opens in new tab), Victoria 3 should be released later this year. While developer Paradox hasn’t set a more specific release date, a 2022 release will be welcome news for fans of the series who have been waiting for the sequel since it was revealed last year.
Created by the same studio behind Crusader Kings 3, Victoria 3 transports Paradox’s grand strategy formula into the era of the industrial revolution. You are given a country to lead through 100 years of political, economic and social upheaval, starting in 1836.
In a twist on Crusader Kings 3, however, Victoria 3 doesn’t let you play as an individual ruler or dynasty, but the country itself. You will be managing many facets of the nation, judging between the disputes of its many demographics, enacting domestic policies to try to satisfy your desires, and maneuvering between conflicts on the global stage.
Both the macro and micro elements of your country must be finely tuned and watched as you try to lead your people to prosperity. Check out the new trailer for Victoria 3 below.
Unlike many other turn-based, real-time strategy games, Victoria 3 is designed to encourage peaceful resolutions to conflicts. While you can invade other nations and defend their borders through military actions, Paradox says diplomatic efforts can achieve anything gained by war. When Victoria 3 was first revealed last year, the studio was keen to present its diplomatic systems as more robust than any of its previous titles.
Like the other grand strategy games, however, Victoria 3 leans heavily towards alternate history. While the central campaign is punctuated by historically significant events that were vital in shaping the 19th century, the world’s many nation states will respond to its actions. Victoria 3 appears to be both a fun sandbox and a historical simulator.
Half-Life: Alyx Leviathan, an upcoming fan-made mod for Valve’s acclaimed VR FPS, has received its first full gameplay reveal – giving us a glimpse into its ambitious scope and gunplay.
Revealed as part of PC game program (opens in new tab) following Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, the 7-minute clip follows Alyx as she explores what appears to be an abandoned skyscraper and mining facility. Of course, she is not alone, with many Combine soldiers and headcrab zombies attacking her.
Released as an expansion to Half-Life: Alyx rather than a total overhaul, Levitation will include all the basics from the original game – which we consider to be one of the best VR games on the market. You’ll be unloading magazines against Combine in cover-based firefights, dodging the pincers of bouncing headcrabs in more horror-focused level segments, and playing with the physics of your environment to get the upper hand in firefights.
It all feels pretty slick, mixing intricately planned open combat areas with suspenseful downtime moments. Production value alone sets Levitation apart from other mods, with its verticality and scope feeling right at home alongside Valve’s original. See for yourself in the gameplay trailer below.
Levitation ad trailer (opens in new tab) hinted that Russell will return, and G-Man can be seen in this latest gameplay reveal, silently watching over his actions. According to this first trailer, Levitation will send you on a hunt for two resistance fighters who went missing after investigating a mysterious floating building in Sector-X of City 17.
Half-Life: Alyx Levitation is being developed by animator Corey Laddo and level designer Shawn Snelling, who has contributed to numerous maps in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game will be four to five hours long and is expected to release in Q3 2023 – July, August, September – for free on Steam Workshop.
Levitation has already caused quite a stir in the Half-Life community, with many expecting it to be as impressive as Black Mesa – a third-party remake of the original Half-Life. That game eventually received Valve’s blessing and was released commercially to much fanfare in 2020. The creators of Levitation are likely hoping to achieve similar success.
If you thought ransomware forcing people to do good deeds was bizarre – wait until you hear about WannaFriendMe. To get the decryptor for this newly discovered ransomware (opens in new tab) tension, victims need to buy a game pass from the Roblox Game Pass store.
Roblox is a gaming platform where users can build and play games. Game creators can monetize their creations by requiring game passes before playing. These passes can be purchased with the platform’s native currency, Robux.
In the ransom note sent to victims, it says that they need to buy a specific game pass, costing 1700 Robux, or around $20. After purchasing the game pass, they need to contact an email address specific with your username and a screenshot to prove the purchase.
Chaos? Or Ryuk?
Attackers are warning victims not to delete the game pass as this will make the process invalid.
If you thought $20 was exchanged compared to other malware (opens in new tab) operators whose demands run into the tens of thousands of dollars, keep in mind that the targets of this campaign are primarily gamers.
Another interesting point is that threat actors are using Chaos ransomware, which tries to impersonate Ryuk. In mid-2021, someone started selling a Chaos ransomware builder, allowing just about anyone with a few extra dollars to spare, to build their own ransomware strain.
The main difference between Chaos and Ryuk is the fact that the former is known to overwrite large files with squiggles.
In other words, once encrypted, any file larger than 2MB can never be recovered. This is a known fact for Chaos, and it may put off some people who have considered paying the ransom demand.
The researchers who discovered the campaign, MalwareHunterTeam, said that the creator of the Chaos ransomware pretends to be Ryuk by default, using the .ryuk extension for all encrypted files.
The era of being bombarded with annoying pop-up notifications and alerts on your browser could be over soon, thanks to a new Google Chrome update.
The company has revealed how it’s making Chrome “a more useful browser” using machine learning tools running on the software that can turn off pop-ups before the user knows it.
The change, set to appear in Chrome 102 later this year, means the browser will be able to examine a webpage as it loads and predict whether permission for notifications or other prompts is likely to be granted. Otherwise, say if the site has been reported as annoying or malicious in the past, notifications will be blocked automatically.
Google Chrome Notifications
“On the one hand, page notifications help provide you with updates from sites that are important to you; on the other hand, notification permission prompts can become a nuisance,” Google noted in a blog post (opens in new tab) announcing the news.
“Our goal is to build a browser that is genuinely and continually useful, and we’re excited about the possibilities that ML offers.”
When visiting such a site, users will (ironically) receive an alert informing them that notifications have been blocked automatically.
Google added that because the update is built into Chrome itself, the ML models focus on your specific device and its usage, meaning your data remains private.
The move is the latest step by Google to use AI and machine learning to improve its users’ online experience.
The service is powered by a new machine learning model from Google that builds on work the company started with its Safe Browsing tool in Chrome, as well as its built-in phishing detection in Chrome to help identify malicious or criminal websites that move multiple URLs.
Since launching in March 2022, Google says the tool has identified “2.5x more potentially malicious websites and phishing attacks than the previous model – resulting in a safer, more secure web.”
The company also hopes to use the same technology in the future to provide users with a more engaging and intuitive toolbar in Chrome. The tool will display different buttons at certain times, for example showing the share button prominently on social media or the voice search button if a user is accessing Chrome on a mobile device.
Google intended to act on harmful notifications in October 2020 when it blocked website alerts (opens in new tab) who tried to ask permission or abuse notifications in a deceptive way, with users being told that the site may have bad intentions at heart.
Meta revealed that he will no longer sell his troubled Portal (opens in new tab) video devices for consumers and is focusing on enterprise customers instead.
a report of The information revealed that the devices, first launched in 2018 as part of an effort to expand the Facebook parent company’s hardware portfolio, will now focus on corporate use cases such as video conferencing.
The Portal was originally launched as an effort to help connect Facebook users around the world, but it has raised eyebrows with some questionable privacy decisions, meaning many consumers have been left out.
Gateway to business success?
Currently, five models of Portal can be found online, starting with the more portable Portal Go for $199, alongside the Portal Mini ($129), the original Portal ($179), Portal TV ( $149) and the top-of-the-line Portal Plus ($349). ).
The information notes that Portal accounted for less than 1% of the global smart speakers and displays market in 2021, with analyst firm IDC estimating 800,000 devices shipped last year.
He adds that Meta will now look to clean up its remaining Consumer Portal inventory before focusing solely on enterprise customers, although existing users can still count on continued product support for now.
It remains to be seen exactly what approach Meta will take to transform the Portal into a business device and whether it will announce new releases.
There is potential for the existing line of devices to be a useful addition to offices, with the Portal and Portal Mini possibly acting as hubs for booking meeting rooms or initiating ad hoc video calls from a quiet location.
The webcam-like Portal TV could also have a role to play for companies looking to up their game of video calling by offering a low-cost way to turn television screens or other monitors into a video chat hub.
Apple has introduced an interesting change with macOS 13 Ventura in terms of better Linux support, giving new powers to those running a Linux distribution in a virtual machine (VM) on a Mac with Apple silicon, allowing those users to run x86 software. on that VM.
As The register (opens in new tab) reports, this capability comes courtesy of Rosetta 2, which is Apple’s translation technology originally introduced with the M1, allowing this chip to run x86 applications.
With macOS 13, Apple is extending support for Rosetta’s x86-64-to-Arm translation techniques to work on Linux VMs, meaning those running Linux this way will be able to use applications written for Intel processors. x86.
This is certainly an interesting sequel to add to the Linux VMs arc, albeit for a niche set of Mac owners.
Analysis: Getting more Dockers to migrate to Apple?
The work done to get this new functionality up and running was likely not trivial, and could be part of a larger strategic move by Apple to persuade Docker developers that their next PC should be a Mac with Apple’s SoC – as that means these developers can work with x86-64 containers on such a machine. This could be a not inconsiderable audience for Apple to tap into with future Macs running Ventura.
Of course, this is just a cool feature anyway, and one of many in the bag of tricks being introduced by macOS 13. Ventura also promises to be an ace (sorry, we haven’t heard this enough since the big reveal) with a few changes. interface features – like bringing in the Stage Manager – and a bunch of smart accessibility improvements, plus let’s not forget the work on the gaming front, opening Resident Evil Village on Mac later this year.
If you can’t wait for macOS to get here, with its debut scheduled for late 2022, there’s already a beta you can grab (it’s an early developer release, mind you – the public beta doesn’t start until July , at which point Ventura will undoubtedly be in better shape).
It’s been a hot minute, so Best Buy is back for another 3-day sale with discounts on a whole range of tech including TVs, laptops, phones, video games and more. If you want to buy yourself a treat or grab some last minute Father’s Day gifts, you can browse the full sale below or scroll down for a handpicked selection of all the deals available this weekend.
As usual, Best Buy has a lot of great laptop deals on their latest sale. That includes a Lenovo Chromebook 3 for just $89 (was $139) (opens in new tab) – a fantastic all-time low price for a budget laptop. It’s one of the cheapest options we’ve seen in months if you need a very basic device for light use or schoolwork.
Another traditionally strong area for Best Buy is TV offerings. There are dozens of deals once again this weekend on everything from budget displays to high-end QLED and OLED sets. We think the best value for money is this LG UP7000 4K 55-inch LED TV for $369.99 (was $409.99) (opens in new tab). It’s a reasonably priced all-in-one display that supports 4K resolution for excellent picture quality, as well as having access to all major streaming apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Prime Video.
Also, definitely don’t miss the 65-inch Samsung Q80A QLED for $999.99 (was $1,299.99) (opens in new tab) or the 65-inch LG C1 OLED for $1,599.99 (was $1,899.99) (opens in new tab) if you want to buy one of the best TVs at a great price.
In addition to these two main categories, we also picked many other offerings from the entire sale, including home appliances, tablets, headsets, and video games.
“I’ve seen a lot of horror. I mean one much horror,” says The Quarry’s creative director Will Byles. “Probably too much, and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. My sister used to make me watch horror movies with her [laughs].”
The Quarry is the latest big-budget horror game from Supermassive Games, the team behind the anthology Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures, two games that have found huge audiences, but The Quarry is the developer’s best work yet.
Not only does the game look brilliant, capturing the fantastic performances of its Hollywood cast, but it makes your choices in the story feel like they have a real impact, with decisions you make early in the game extending to the end of the game. A ton of effort has clearly been put into making The Quarry close to the best game it could be.
It’s clear from speaking to Byles, The Quarry was born out of the team’s deep love for all things horror. The Quarry might not be the scariest horror game, but it’s one of the most ambitious and creative I’ve played in years.
A passion for terror
“So basically it’s playable teen horror,” says Byles, giving me The Quarry’s elevator speech. “It’s traditional teen horror, really, archetypal or clichéd teen horror. Everyone can live, everyone can die, as long as you play them in the game. If you die, you’re still dead. You don’t get better.”
The double meaning of the title also hints at what you’re getting yourself into. “The quarry itself is a place called Hackett’s Quarry,” he says, “and it’s a really evocative place to define a horror. Quarry also means ‘the hunted’ or what is hunted is the prey, so when the game starts you realize they are also the quarry.”
a darker image
Supermassive Games may be best known for Until Dawn, but they’re also behind The Dark Pictures anthology – unique stories exploring different sub-genres of horror.
Strangely, these dives into different avenues of the horrible affected the development of The Quarry in a more technical way than you might have expected. “We’ve been making The Dark Pictures for several years since Until Dawn,” explains Byles, “And with Until Dawn we had to write in Excel spreadsheets because there wasn’t the software to do that.
“Over the [course of] The Dark Pictures, we developed a very good narrative design system. We still wrote a script in Final Draft first, but then we split it into a playable storyboard mode with some software we’ve developed over the years. We earn a lot with [The Dark Pictures].”
the power of friendship
Almost from the first horror movies, teenagers were put in the role of the hunted. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas and Halloween all show young people being hunted down and murdered by some cold, adult figure. There’s something about this stage, no longer childish, not yet adult, that makes teenagers an excellent lens to explore larger themes, in the case of The Quarry, Supermassive wanted a story that delved into the evidence of friendships.
The Quarry “is really scary,” says Byles, “but it also has a degree of lightness. More than anything, it’s about relationships. It’s about how these things work under pressure.”
Byles is excited to examine how we play roles with our friends and what’s behind it all. “There’s a thing where people start with this kind of facade of the thing they portray and they shrink out,” explains Byles.
“That’s the persona they give you, but if you start tearing it down, with fear, danger, injury and potentially death, all these [acts] start to fall and then a real person comes out. So I really wanted to look at what the truth is in people as much as possible.”
This persona removal has happened in stories before, but it presents a particular challenge in a game. “When it’s an interactive story, we have to give you a choice of how you behave in those situations and what you would say in response to those things,” says Byles, which means you are, to some extent, choosing who a story is. character is under his persona. “So really, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the honesty of relationships.”
It’s in the demonstration of these slipping facades that The Quarry cast shines. As Byles suggests, each of The Quarry’s main characters seems shallow in the first intro, as if he’s putting up a facade.
Jacob, for example, starts out as the archetypal athlete. Confident, optimistic and a bit crass. As the threats mount, though, Jacob is shown to be really emotionally intelligent and clearly cares about the friends he has surrounded himself with.
“I’m always amazed at how adorable they are,” says Byles, talking about working with the likes of David Arquette, Brenda Song, Lance Henriksen and Justice Smith. “You hear stories about actors being cousins, but they were super adorable.”
In a sign that games like the anthology Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures are finding a huge audience, several cast members have come to Supermassive rather than the other way around. “A lot of them were actually asking to join the games and they’re obsessed,” reveals Byles. “Miles Robbins, who plays Dylan, is absolutely obsessed with Until Dawn. Siobhan Williams, who plays Laura, says everyone in that age group really understands, because they’ve seen stuff like that and played stuff like that, and they’re a part of it.
“Zach Tinker plays Jacob. He’s kind of a ‘douche’ character. the athlete. He was so energetic, super energetic and wanted to do all his own stunts. And so we left it!
“There’s a moment when he’s been chased by a monster and he’s running and skidding and [he] fell to the floor. Anyway, he backed away a little silently, and it turns out he literally broke his thumb. But, God bless him, he just kept going.”
Teenage counselors are just one part of The Quarry’s cast, of course. Several older and veteran actors also lent their likeness and voices to the game. “So Lance Henriksen, there’s Lin Shaye, Ted Raimi… David Arquette. There was a certain degree of bewilderment when they walked on set looking for where the camera would be. It’s like, ‘What are those little dots on you?’ They had to wear these helmets and the 3D camera capturing face things. All of this took a little getting used to, I think. But in the end, they nailed it.”
As is the case with many AAA games released in the last couple of years, the development of The Quarry certainly had its challenges. “The hardest thing, I think, really, was Covid. It was very difficult to come out to America,” says Byles. “We had to do a lot of work with the American Embassy to get there because no one from Europe was allowed to enter America.
“The Screen Actors Guild of America is super strict about [this], and this was all pre-vaccine. So everyone was tested every day. I had to wear three masks on set. I had to wear a cloth mask, an N95 mask, and a shield every time I approached an actor. So I couldn’t breathe [laughs].”
Despite the difficulties faced, The Quarry turned out to be a more than valuable experience for horror fans. While it’s certainly a spiritual successor to Until Dawn, the team at Supermassive Games has managed to surpass their previous work to deliver a genuinely ambitious horror experience that I personally won’t soon forget.
Instead of Valve not yet having its own dock for the Steam Deck, a 3D Redditor has printed its own custom support for the system, and it looks as good as anything Valve can come up with.
The Reddit user in question, Hannover2k (opens in new tab), built the dock by converting a Dock-Teck DD0003 USB-C hub accessory. They also added several other ports, including two USB 3.0 slots, an SD/MicroSD slot, HDMI and LAN ports, and a 45w USB C-Charge port.
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The skill level on this Steam Deck cradle looks impressive and could lead to even more 3D-printed docks in the future. Steam has partnered with iFixit to provide official replacement parts for the console so buyers don’t have to turn to third-party sources, but if you’re looking for a Steam Deck dock, at least this custom printed dock might inspire some DIY options among Steam Deck owners.
Analysis: Can 3rd party docks and DIY Steam Deck make an official dock irrelevant?
With the recent disappointing news of the Steam Deck docking station being postponed indefinitely due to COVID-related manufacturing challenges, it looks like users will have to turn to third-party vendors and, increasingly, themselves to fill the accessories gap. from the Steam Deck.
There are already a number of third-party docking stations such as the UGreen USB-C multiport adapter or the j5create USB C docking station, as well as many other options on sites like Etsy. However, just like Hannover2k, there are more buyers who are successfully 3D printing their own docks.
If Valve can’t solve its supply chain problems, this emerging third-party and DIY market could seriously reduce its sales once it releases an official version.
On the other hand, users providing their own docks and mounts could mean that Valve won’t have to worry about releasing one, and may even quietly retire plans to produce them. This would have the added benefit of allowing the company to focus on Steam Deck production, which is still in high demand.
The Apple M1 chip was a wildly successful launch for the Cupertino-based tech giant, but new research from MIT says the chip that powers everything from the Apple MacBook Pro to the latest iPad Air has a major security flaw. which, by its nature, cannot be corrected. a security update.
PACMAN, the exploit that MIT researchers designed, relies on a combination of software and hardware exploits that test whether a signature is accepted, and since there are only a finite number of possible signatures, it is possible for PACMAN to try them all, find find out which one is valid and then have a separate software exploit use that signature to circumvent this ultimate defense mechanism on the M1 chip.
The researchers tested this exploit against the system kernel – the foundation of any operating system – and found that the exploit gave them kernel-level system access, meaning it could give an attacker complete control over a system.
“The idea behind pointer authentication is that if all else fails, you can still rely on it to prevent attackers from gaining control of your system,” said MIT CSAIL. We’ve shown that pointer authentication as a last line of defense is not as absolute as we thought it was,” said MIT CSAIL Ph.D. student Joseph Ravichandran, co-lead author of the paper explaining the flaw, which will be presented at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture on June 18.
“When pointer authentication was introduced, a whole category of bugs suddenly became much more difficult to use for attacks. With PACMAN making these bugs more serious, the overall attack surface could be much larger,” added Ravichandran.
And since the researchers used a microarchitecture exploit to circumvent the PAC security measure, there is no way to “fix” this part of the exploit as it is literally plugged into the chip itself. Still, the exploit can only work in conjunction with another software exploit. He cannot do anything alone.
Analysis: This sounds bad, but is it?
While this sounds like a serious problem, and it can be, it doesn’t mean that everyone’s new MacBook Air is open to any cyber gang that wants to extort some bitcoin from people.
The hardware exploit the researchers used in this case is similar to the Specter and Meltdown exploits seen on some Intel chips, and while they were a problem, they didn’t suddenly destroy everyone’s computers. The fact is, the vast majority of people aren’t worth a cybercriminal’s time. Why mess with your laptop when someone can block a pipeline and extort millions of dollars?
Furthermore, the PAC exploit attacks the last line of defense in an M1 chip (and not just M1 chips, but also any ARM-based processor that uses a PAC security measure, involving some Qualcomm and Samsung chips as well).
“We want to thank the researchers for their collaboration as this proof of concept advances our understanding of these techniques,” an Apple spokesperson told . “Based on our analysis and the details shared with us by the researchers, we have concluded that this issue does not pose an immediate risk to our users and is insufficient to circumvent the operating system’s security protections on its own.”
This does not mean that such an exploit cannot be used, but it does mean that an exploit will have to overcome all other security measures on the system, and Apple’s systems are reasonably well protected as they are. So while we’re sure Apple will fix this issue on the chips going forward, Apple M1 users don’t necessarily need to panic about this exploit, especially if they take other preventative security measures.