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The Blue Flamingo is a diorama come to life

In the seventh grade, I had to make a diorama for a class project, and being on a complete kick of Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge, I opted to craft something that involved lots and lots of fighter planes. Might and Delight seems to have been on the same wavelength with diorama-incarnate The Blue Flamingo, except with a professional touch and a lack of amateurish glue marks, and that they made a videogame out of it. The Swedish developer is known for their artistic touch and physical-meets-digital aspect of design, with the concept of Pid coming from paper cutouts.…

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All those vacant stores in shopping malls are being turned in data centers

Malls and department stores both have generous amounts of space, so with many vacancies still left unfilled after the recession, there’s a need to find replacement entities that can make efficient use of of the ample room. An answer to this problem is to buy the space and fill it up with servers, converting the entire establishment into a data center. The change holds a touch of irony to it, with many stores having struggled to keep up with online shopping’s rising dominance, only to be repurposed to further that goal. “Who else wants them?” said Brian Vandegrift, executive vice…

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The Great Emoticon turns old AIM conversations into a Zelda game

If the faces of the AOL Instant Messenger conversations of yore were to attain sentience and corporeal forms, the design of the post-apocalyptic world of The Great Emoticon is arguably what that reality would look like. The trailer released by developer Hit That Switch last week looks to be another entry into the top-down action-adventure genre carved out by the earlier entries of The Legend of Zelda. The unnamed protagonist, using the all-mighty emoticon emotional energies of glad, mad and sad, must persevere through pleasantly vibrant monster designs, reminiscent of what someone thought a computer virus looked like back in the ‘90s, to…

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Eitr’s trailer recalls the pitch-black world of Diablo II

The Gothic masterpiece that was Diablo II, the one that I willingly gave away much of my youth to, was perhaps most notable because of its atmosphere. It was a shadowy world, brown lands fading into a black background, full of occult sacrifices, lo-fi gore and legions of grotesque demons. Horror looks better pixelated.  For its sequel, the game’s developers ditched much of this darkness, going instead for very clean and detailed visuals more reminiscent of their megahit online game World of Warcraft; pop-art levels of brightness with slick lines and eye-popping effects all visible through a generous field-of-view. The…

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Sub Rosa wants you to be the worst person you could possibly be

Cryptic Sea’s upcoming shooter is described by the developers as “about tense deals, double-crosses and car chases.” Car chases and gunplay have been done to death, but what’s this about double-crossing? Less of a shooter and more of a corporate warfare simulator, the game encourages you to be an all-around douchebag, backstabbing both players from other corporations as well as your friends in the pursuit of cash money, suits and flashy cars. You’re able to set up a deal and do something like a simple empty briefcase scam, start a low-poly firefight, and once the lead stops flying, collect the…

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Scientists are trying to make robots that can feel things

The use of robots is widespread throughout society: in medicine, combat, warehouses and factories. However, one limitation is holding them back from advancing into other industries: a lack of touch. Human touch is complex and highly sensitive, sensitive enough to detect textures on a nanoscale level. So, translating that into equivalent haptic feedback is a difficult task. Human touch is complex and highly sensitive.  “It just takes time, and it’s more complicated,” said Ken Goldberg, a University of California, Berkeley, in an article for the New York Times. “Humans are really good at this, and they have millions of years…

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Vidcode is a programming tool geared toward teenage girls

With the technology industry considered male-dominated, many have wondered how to encourage more women into coding. Alexandra Diracles and Melissa Halfon have an idea: change the language. The result is Vidcode, interactive software geared toward teenage girls that enables them to customise Instagram videos with effects that they program. By combining programming with a hobby that their target demographic is already familiar with, Diracles and Halfon aim to combat a perception among girls that tech and coding are “boring.” Students can also share the videos with their friends, adding a social aspect to the coding. “A lot of young girls…

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This mountain hut is like a crash-landed spaceship

Part LEGO and part crash-landed Borg cube, Atelier 8000’s entry into the Kežmarská Chata (Kežmarská Hut) international architectural competition would have looked right at home in the High Tatras peaks of Slovakia. The design team said that the “clean simple cube shape” is intended to evoke a scene of an ice block that was left behind randomly by a retreating glacier. The glass combined with photovoltaic and aluminium panels that cover the surface of the proposal replicate the glare and reflections of the ice and snow-capped peaks surrounding it, while the “sharp edges” blend in with the landscape. The cuboid…

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Here are a couple of lovely, surreal GearVR games to float through

Balthazar Auxietre, creative director and CEO of Innerspace VR, has emphasized his focus on having a user be able to “feel the space” around them, a sense of spatial presence that he says is the “magic” of virtual reality. Two of Innerspace’s current projects, The Fifth Sleep and The Cave, were demoed alongside the Samsung GearVR at IFA Berlin in September, show the non-gaming possibilities for the unit. Auxietre wants to create this “magic” by making his virtual reality worlds feel like they have substance; that you can “feel” them and interact with them. The controls, or lack thereof, of both titles are similar:…