GDC 2018: ‘Shift Quantum’ is an Extremely Stylish Puzzle Platformer Coming to Nintendo Switch

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During GDC 2018 this week we got something of a blast from the past as we checked out Shift Quantum from Fishing Cactus, which is set to be published by Red Panda on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. The origins of the game date back to over a decade ago with the original Shift Flash game, which you can still play today. The main hook is that each level is made up of black areas and white areas, and pressing the shift key would switch which area would be the “active” one. So say the ground was black and the sky was white, hitting the shift key would flip things so the white would become the ground and the black become the sky. This is used to solve various puzzle platforming levels, and that original Shift even made its way to iPhone way back in 2009 and was a perfect fit for the touchscreen. Shift Quantum takes that defining shifting mechanic and builds it out with new levels, a fantastic new art style, a compelling narrative, and even a fully featured level editor. While sadly a mobile version of Shift Quantum isn’t in the cards, it’s at least coming to the Nintendo Switch as well as the other major consoles and PC, so check out our hands-on time with the Switch version below and look for a launch in the next coming months.

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How to try to improve your sleep by turning on Night Shift in macOS

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Do you find the blue light emitted by your Mac’s screen make it harder to go to sleep, especially if you’re at the keys late in the day? AppleInsider explains how to use Night Shift in macOS to automatically make gradual changes to the the color of the display, to help you get a good night’s rest.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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New Satellite Will Shift Shape While in Space

Shape Shifting

While the U.S. and Russia often steal the scene when it comes to wondrous space missions, in Europe the U.K is launching a new satellite that is sure to surprise its international partners. The Eutelsat Quantum satellite, built by the firm Airbus, will be the first commercial satellite equipped to shapeshift while in orbit. Operators will be able to reconfigure the satellite in real time, modifying elements such as its frequency and the areas of the earth it covers.

Speaking with Phys.org, Yohann Leroy, deputy CEO of French satellite operator Eutelsat, said that “what is really new is the level of flexibility that the satellite will provide […] thanks to a combination of technologies that we will put on board the satellite.”

The satellite, set to launch in 2019, will have a 15-year lifespan — with an additional three years taken into consideration for building — and will use its ability to reconfigure to keep up with changing market conditions and differing regulatory parameters.  Instead of satellite makers having to predict the market or have their satellites become obsolete fast, the Eutelsat Quantum satellite boasts an extreme flexibility that will keep it ahead of the game.

British Space

To give one example of how a hyper-flexible satellite like this might be beneficial, take the marine industry. To track a terminal’s journey across an ocean, you would typically have to use multiple beams from various satellites to cover all of the different regions across the water. Using this tech, a single beam from this one satellite would do the job.

Additionally, traditional satellites are often custom produced, which makes them unique but less adaptable. This satellite, however, would be built following a reproducible standard, which means it could be mass produced. While this may give pause to those concerned about space pollution, it would definitely improve access to satellite technology.

It’s unclear yet whether or not such flexibility will become mainstream in the future, but the new model’s capabilities are promising. What is sure is that the U.K. is making headway in this ambitious niche of the space industry.

The post New Satellite Will Shift Shape While in Space appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Can Apple’s ARKit shift AR from short-term gimmick to long-term staple for brands?


With only 2,000 ARKit-enabled apps to its name and installs showing a downward trend, the hype around Apple’s augmented reality technology went quickly from red-hot to lukewarm. News of the latest ARKit update has reignited excitement among developers and brands alike, with the changes inching us closer to a new world of AR possibilities and increased adoption. The question is, can Apple’s news finally be the much-anticipated catalyst that shifts the current lackluster perception of AR from short-term gimmick to long-term staple for brands?

Apple’s recent ARKit changes have opened up an ocean of possibilities for AR experiences, and the quiet ripples around the AR debate have quickly massed into tidal waves. Developers, brands, and consumers are starting to understand that AR can indeed be more than a bit of fun: it can be genuinely useful. And this realization might just push ARKit adoption on a whole new trajectory.

Marked believable change

From a developer’s perspective, the changes enable designers to make their AR experiences react to the real world in a much more believable and accurate way. Before ARKit, most developers could only really use marker-based AR, which restricted the experience to being overlaid on a physical marker in the real world — and if that marker moved out of the field of view of the camera, the experience would disappear.

Then, when ARKit first launched, it took away the need for the marker — giving developers much more freedom by suddenly enabling the experience to be anywhere around you. But it was still limited — it could only detect horizontal surfaces such as tables and floors, which meant that although you could do things such as simulate a ball bouncing off the floor, you couldn’t bounce it off a wall or a door or a pillar. The experience would stop working, thus breaking the illusion.

But this new update provides the additional functionality that allows you to be able to track walls and doors and any vertical surface. So, not only can your AR objects interact with those surfaces — for instance, an animated character leaning against a doorframe — it also means that the effects within the experience, such as lighting, can be made much more realistic.

For example, we can simulate lighting within the experience to reflect where windows and doors would be in a space, therefore casting shadows and reflections that are true to life. All of this adds an additional level of believability – making the experience more immersive, while allowing developers to have more fun too.

The other major feature that ARKit adds is the capability to detect markers, which it couldn’t actually do before. This means you can layer your AR experience with triggers for new content. So, you could be using an AR experience which then detects a marker, which then triggers the next stage of content — giving you a staggered and comprehensive overall experience.

This opens up all sorts of exciting opportunities, from gaming to storytelling to brand experiences. And the more compelling the experience, the more developers will be interested in trying it and engaging with it.

Power to the people

To date, the growth and adoption of AR has been stunted by its Achilles heel: the widespread perception that it’s cool, but not very useful. In reality, devices like the Microsoft HoloLens have shown us that far from being a gimmick, AR can be an incredibly powerful tool. You only have to read about the medical uses the HoloLens is being put to – for example, during cross-continent surgery – to see that.

What this ARKit update does is put the power that the (very expensive) HoloLens offers into the hands of anybody with a reasonably modern smartphone.

And the scope of use is diverse: from education to medicine, entertainment or construction. Imagine being able to point your tablet at a wall in a new building development and have X-ray vision showing you where all the pipework and cabling runs in the wall. That’s a genuinely useful application and it’s just there, on your smartphone, in your hand, in the moment.

Fortunately, amongst the serious talk, the fun hasn’t fizzled. There’s much more potential to design addictive and responsive AR mobile games too. So, all in all, the update will make AR more engaging and useful, both of which are crucial for adoption.

Return on reality

AR has always been about making an existing environment into something better than it already is — and the more it can model and reason with the environment it’s being used in, the more powerfully it can do that. This opens the floodgates of potential for in-the-moment AR experiences. Smart brands will turn this into an opportunity for enhanced ROI. The question is, how?

With augmented point of sale materials, brands can appeal to customers more directly, as Ferrari proved when AR first started attracting attention. Now the ARKit updates can take that direct appeal even further – making it accessible to everyone. Imagine a poster for a new car at a bus stop or in a waiting room. With ARKit, you scan the poster and the phone will put you in the point of view of the driver, so you’re free to explore the inside of the car with a good sense of scale. You could slide over to the passenger seat to see what that’s like. Turn around to look in the back. You could even reduce the car to a radio control size and drive it around on the sidewalk in front of you.

James Burrows is the Technical Director at Immersive VR.

Apple – VentureBeat

Apple’s shift in iOS development pace about evolving scale, not coping with bugs, says former Windows chief

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Apple’s "cultural shift" towards spacing out new features in iOS is more a natural function of development scale, and not really the revolution some people might perceive it to be, according to a noted former Microsoft Windows president.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

In software development ‘cultural shift’, Apple won’t hold features for major annual point-zero releases

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Rather than packing everything it can into an anticipated "iOS 12" later this year, Apple will reportedly spread out new features into future software updates, meaning "iOS 12.1" and beyond could bring big improvements to the iPhone and iPad.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Up to three Macs coming with T-series security chips, shift to Apple CPU inevitable

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Over the years, Apple has amassed personnel and materials to become a chip design juggernaut, with a new report claiming that Apple is including the T-series chip in forthcoming Mac models including a laptop refresh and a new desktop model, and has its eyes on replacing Intel as the supplier of the Mac CPU.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

LG’s latest financials explain its shift in mobile strategy

Earlier this month, LG said that it would row back on its smartphone ambitions by abandoning an annual cycle of smartphone launches. Rather than releasing a flagship just because Samsung did, LG would only pump out a handset when it felt that it shou…
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Some Google Pixel 2 XL displays have less significant color shift

Last year we reported on the tendency of the Google Pixel 2 XL OLED display to rapidly shift colors when the device was tilted and viewed off-axis. Although the behavior is not uncommon for OLED panels, the LG-made panel on the Pixel 2 XL exhibited it to a significant degree, where it was hard not to notice. Not all Pixel 2 XL displays are bad. Some lack the annoying blue shift. pic.twitter.com/p8RgkEbztF— Vlad Savov (@vladsavov) January 15, 2018 We are now hearing reports of users noting that their units don’t seem to suffer from the aforementioned problem, at least not the degree…

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Yarra 3DX soundbar uses an app to shift the audio sweet spot

Our latest audio demo at CES 2018 came from Comhear's highly-anticipated first consumer device, the Yarra 3DX. While soundbars claiming audio superpowers are a dime a dozen, the Yarra 3DX has been through two successful crowdfunding campaigns (on Kic…
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