science

Discover actual exoplanets and earn EVE Online rewards – without ever leaving the ship dock

Have you heard in passing this “Project Discovery” thing in EVE Online and wondered what it is all about? CCP put together a new tutorial video that explains the purpose behind Project Discovery, how players can help, and what they will earn for their troubles.

Project Discovery is a collaborative, crowdsourced effort to reward players in-game for helping out on what are effectively “citizen science” projects. Last year’s program tasked players with identifying cell structures to assist the Human Genome Project. This particular leg of the program, first revealed at last spring’s EVE Fanfest in Iceland, sets players to work hunting for exoplanets in other solar systems. Players have the option of analyzing a star’s luminosity to see if there are any dips, signifying that a planet has crossed between the star and the telescope. The more accurate a player is in his or her analysis (compared to the rest of the EVE community), the more experience points will be doled out for a special reward track.

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Scientists say Pokemon Go helps relieve stress in Japanese workers

A new Japanese study in the acclaimed science journal Nature suggests that Pokemon Go players experienced a drop in “psychological distress” because of the game. The paper gives psychological distress a specific definition, but it’s easier to explain it as the amount of “vigor” someone has compared to depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

While the study had a control group of non-players and used a total sample size of 2,500 fully employed Japanese workers, at this point in the research game, I’ve started to become less impressed. While I’d love to sing praises of POGO, there’s a reason most people look at the game as a fad, and the research here only reinforced this. Let’s take a look at the study and what it really means.

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PAX West 2017: Chronicles of Elyria’s monetization philosophy, tribe evolution, and the PvP sandbox stigma

What is Chronicles of Elyria? We first learned about the game and its goal to redefine the MMORPG genre back in 2015. Since then, CoE has been developing steadily, especially after the huge influx of capital gained through Kickstarter and then on-site crowdfunding. Folks could follow the progress through numerous dev blogs, videos, and even the chance to test bits of gameplay at various PAXs. Some bits of that development, however, have raised questions; prospective players have voiced concerns about the pay-to-win and gankbox stigmas, the complex tribe system, and the admittedly broad scope of the game.

I sat down with Executive Producer Vye Alexander and CEO/Creative Director Jeromy Walsh at PAX West to discuss these issues and more.

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PAX West 2017: Hands-on with Amazing Eternals (and more beta keys!)

If I had to pick a PAX West booth to give an award to for sheer fun factor, it would go to Digital Extremes’ new board/card/computer game combo The Amazing Eternals. (I’m not alone: The booth also got an award from a magazine!) The retro bowling alley vibe — complete with bowling shirts, orange shag carpet, and wood paneling — combined with the awesome old TV console frames on the monitors just screamed funky and fun.

Did that same vibe translate into the game? Yup. It was prevalent when I got to dive in and try a couple of matches. Admittedly, the first one was less fun, but that’s because I jumping in totally blind; the enjoyment spiked up quite a bit more after talking with Lead Game Designer Allen Goode and actually learning about the game. And now you, too, will have that same info so you can have a blast in your matches — or at least know better what’s going on!

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Overwatch: Behind the scenes of the Mei short, 14th comic ‘Wasted Land’

Everyone loves Mei; she’s funny, cute, smart, soft, and just all-around cool. But she’s different from the focus of previous Overwatch animated shorts because unlike her companions, she’s also a scientist. We’ve seen shorts about soldiers, adventurers, and oddities, but a look behind the scenes of the most recent short stresses that Mei is the first time an actual science-oriented character has gotten the spotlight so far. And that’s important, considering that science is one of the big focuses of the eponymous organization.

The six-minute behind-the-scenes look emphasizes the way that the short plays up Mei’s creativity and inventive approach to problems, something that’s key to her character and her gameplay. (Well, when her gameplay isn’t just about icicle-sniping people across the map.)

Meanwhile, Blizzard has released its latest Overwatch comic, Wasted Land, this round themed for the Junkertown release.

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MMOARPG Wild Buster is selling founder packs on Indiegogo

Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti joked that it sounded like a game by Mad Libs, but Wild Buster is in fact a sci-fi hack-and-slash MMOARPG being ported westward by Inselgames with the “Heroes of Titan” suffix and an early access by the end of 2017. “Wild Buster is a gritty science fiction Hack’n’Slash MMORPG with MOBA-style skill and character systems,” says the studio. “With a choice of over a dozen unique Heroes, the game requires strategic team composition, the smart use of special abilities, quick reflexes, and above all, an appreciation for over-the-top weaponry.”

It’s followable on Steam right now with an October datestamp, and the studio is using Indiegogo as a sort of makeshift preorder and founder package system; it’s stuffed with pledge rewards already too.

Thinking about backing the game to jump in sooner rather than later? The studio’s granted Massively OP readers a discount toward doing just that; the first 50 gamers who use our link to Indiegogo will be shown a discounted version of the deluxe founder edition, which grants a few goodies in addition to alpha access. This is not an affiliate link and we are not compensated in any way for your use of it or our publication of it. It appears to discount the Deluxe Founder Pack tier to $25 down from $35, though there’s a general $29 sale right now. The Indiegogo vid is below!

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MMOs you’ve never heard of: NosTale, Aeon Rivals, War of Conquest, War40K Inquisitor Martyr

Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Tonight we have four titles to highlight.

NosTale

Remember NosTale? Yeah, we didn’t either, but it’s a super old anime MMO that Gameforge is resurrecting and plopping down on Steam, apparently at some point in September.

“Swordsmen, Archers and Mages – each class offers a unique flavour and the opportunity to create your own personalised character. Tame wild animals, train them and use them tactically in battle. Other players and partners can also join you on your adventures. Take some time out from adventuring in your very own Miniland, a place where you can build your own home, look after the garden and party with your friends.”

Cute! What else have we got here…

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Chaos Theory: What we want out of the Secret World Legends TV show

Wow. So I had no intention of crafting another Chaos Theory this week. I had plans. Other plans. But then the Secret World Legends announcement hit the airwaves on Monday and all other thoughts left my head as I sat there, stunned. I just couldn’t think of anything else. Could it be real? Was SWL really going to be made into a television series? Holy guacamole, it is! A pipe dream I have wished for five years is actually announced and in the works.

I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I want more story from SWL. Story is what this game does so right, and I just can’t get enough. I’ll probably never get enough! There are so many characters I want to know more about, so much history in locations that I’d love to delve deeper into, and so many fascinating events that we know only know the aftermath of that I’d love to witness firsthand. The IP is so rich with possibilities. I knew that the game would never, ever be able to sate my appetite for more, so I had wished long and hard that other avenues might present themselves: short stories, graphic novels, movies, and yes, television series. I can’t even describe how excited I am for the development of more story from this world. Is there risk? Yes, I get that. But the possibility of so much greatness is there! I seriously can’t wait. Imagine it, 30 to 50 minute cut scenes!

With so many possibilities, what could/should the TV show focus on? I have my opinions. Here are some specifics I’d love to see developed further for our viewing pleasure.

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Black Desert Korea introduces a skill fusion system

Have more than enough skills on your hotbar these days? Might as well mash them together and see what happens! Yes, it’s like your cooking “experiments,” only with fewer fatalities and abominations of culinary science.

Over in Korea, Black Desert’s most recent build added a new system called Rabam’s Enlightenment. It’s a fancy way of saying “skill fusion,” which is pretty much what this does. Players can combine two of the skills in their arsenal to create an even better ability that contains elements of both. Additionally, sometimes the fused skill will demonstrate completely new effects. Pretty neat, eh?

While the primary skill used to make the enhanced version won’t be available to use on its own after the combination process, the subskill will still hang around as an option. There are a few other restrictions and requirements to the enhancement process, but it does seem like it would be an interesting way to take a tired old skill and infuse it with new potential.

Source: Inven Global

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s Umbara is shrouded in darkness

Have you heard of the planet Umbara before? The Star Wars fan who has seen only the movies will likely say no, and even if you are a BioWare or Old Republic Star Wars fan you will probably say no too. The only people who would likely know what Umbara is are those fans who watched the Clone Wars television series. However, any Star Wars fan who has seen the prequel trilogy has seen a character from Umbara. You probably don’t know the name, but you’ll know the face of Sly Moore, the bald, pale woman who stood next to Chancellor Palpatine in Attack of the Clones. She was his senior administrative aide, and more importantly, she was the bearer of his secrets.

Star Wars: The Old Republic takes a journey to the shadowy world in the next update, dubbed Crisis on Umbara. Of course, since this is the Old Republic timeline, we are thousands of years before the Clone Wars, and really anything can happen. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have clues for what to expect, however. Let’s discuss the things we know about Umbara and what we know the update is going to bring us.

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A Dota 2 pro was beaten by Elon Musk’s OpenAI bot during this year’s International

Dota 2’s The International 7 tournament is over, having concluded this weekend by crowning EU group Team Liquid — which arrived to the finals by way of the loser’s bracket — champions. Liquid walks off with over $10M in earnings.

But perhaps the most interesting bit for folks who don’t follow Dota 2 closely came on Friday when the ubiquitous Elon Musk revealed his company’s Dota 2 bot, which he says learned a lifetime’s worth of game skills in just two weeks. To prove it, he pitted the bot against pro player Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin in a demo match… and the bot won easily twice.

Lest you think Musk has aims to take over the world, recall that his company OpenAI was founded to stop the AI from taking over the world, meaning this demo was ostensibly another high-profile attempt to provoke regulation.

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Video games can grow or shrink your brain, study finds

Does your brain feel a little lighter or heavier this week? It could be because of your gaming habits.

A recent study on video games hosted by the University of Montreal took a group of people and subjected them to either first-person shooters or Super Mario Bros. It turns out that there was “statistically significant” less grey matter in the hippocampus after 10 weeks than those who indulged in FPS games than platformers, who actually gained more.

So what does this mean? The researchers speculated on why some video games cause growth while others incur shrinkage in the old noggin’. One theory is that action games’ navigation systems do the thinking for the players in favor of a reward system. Platformers may require more active thought to navigating obstacles while FPS are more about reflexes in linear fights.

Still, there’s not really any cause for concern. “I would never interpret this finding as a big warning against action video games,” a neural plasticity researcher Simone Kuhn says.

Source: NPR

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No Man’s Sky dispatches Atlas Rises this week – for free

No Man’s Sky is due for its third freebie patch, and it’s coming this very week.

“We’re calling it Atlas Rises,” Hello Games says in an email that hit owners’ inboxes yesterday. “It focuses on improving the central story of No Man’s Sky and adds the ability to quick travel between locations using portals. Patch notes will be made available shortly before the update goes live. What we do is much more important than what we say, but since launch we have sometimes focused too much on that.”

No patch notes yet, but the studio does comment on the Waking Titan ARG it’s been running, which dovetails into this patch with the portals that will finally become functional.

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