Computer Games


Latest 'Minecraft' update means new blocks, better villages, and pillagers with crossbows

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Video highlights from Village & Pillage, the latest update to popular video game'Minecraft.' Mojang/Microsoft "Minecraft" may be one of the best-selling games of all time – with more than 154 million copies purchased to date – but the developers haven't stopped building more into the game. Acquired by Microsoft in 2014, developer Mojang has just launched Village & Pillage, a free update that adds a plethora of new goodies to "Minecraft," for both the Java and Bedrock versions of game, which includes Windows PC ($26.95 and $26.99 for PC and Macintosh), mobile (iOS and Android, $6.99), Xbox One ($19.99) and Nintendo Switch ($29.99), and virtual reality platforms. Before we get into what's new and newsworthy in this new update, take in these additional facts about the world-renowned building simulation, released ten years ago this month: more people are playing "Minecraft" than ever before at about 91 million unique players every month (across all platforms); more than 160 million people have watched more than 5 billion hours of Minecraft video content on YouTube; and not only is "Minecraft" one of the best-selling games in history, but also one of the highest-rated, with the PC version netting a 93% average "metascore" at Metacritic.com. 'Minecraft Earth': New mobile game to offer AR experience like'Pokemon Go' As the name suggests, villages have changed quite a bit and are among the highlights in this latest'Minecraft' update. Visually, villages will look different based on biome, or region – plains, desert, savannah, taiga, and so forth – therefore you can expect to see changes based on climate and local resources.


New 'Minecraft Earth' to offer AR experience like 'Pokemon Go'

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Microsoft and Mojang have announced a new Minecraft game, 'Minecraft Earth,' for mobile devices, which uses augmented reality to place objects from the game in your real world. Minecraft is expanding its reach – into your real world. A new game, "Minecraft Earth," coming this summer for mobile devices (Android and iOS), uses augmented reality – à la "Pokémon Go" – to let you find objects in real-world locations and place objects from the game there, too. "The game's mechanics are simple: explore your neighborhood to find blocks and unique mobs for your builds. Once you have them, any flat surface is an opportunity to build," said Minecraft creative director Saxs Persson in a post on Xbox.com.


Minecraft Earth: block building game moves into the real world

The Guardian

Since its beta launch in 2009, the blocky, world-building adventure game Minecraft has been released on more than 20 different platforms, from PC to consoles to mobile phones, selling 176m copies. News of a Minecraft AR (augmented reality) app leaked a few weeks ago, but now Microsoft has officially announced Minecraft Earth. It is being developed at the company's Redmond campus, using an array of its mobile, GPS and tracking technologies. Minecraft Earth is best pictured as Pokémon Go with building blocks. When you enter the game, you see an overhead map of your surroundings (Microsoft is working with StreetMap), overlaid with the quaint blocky look of the Minecraft world.


The Elder Scrolls: Blades is now available for everyone

#artificialintelligence

After a period of invite-only early access, Bethesda has announced that The Elder Scrolls: Blades can now be downloaded and played by everyone with a supported iOS or Android device. That's right, there's no need to register for early access or even use a Bethesda account, you can just download the game from Google Play or the App Store now. When it was first announced, it was confirmed that Elder Scrolls: Blades would be coming to PC and consoles as well as mobile but for the moment the release is limited to mobile devices. That's no bad thing, though; in our hands-on review of the game we found Blades to be "a thoroughly enjoyable experience" despite not being a completely fresh take on the universe. While it's now open to everyone, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is still a work-in-progress early access game and this is worth bearing in mind before you play.


Dude's five-year 'Minecraft' game comes to an unfortunate end

Mashable

Ending five years of anything is hard, but you'd ideally like to go out in a blaze of glory. It's not quite the situation that saw the unlucky end of a five-year run of Minecraft, reportedly the longest known on the game's hardcore permadeath mode. SEE ALSO: 'Minecraft' update removes in-game references to its controversial creator As Polygon reports, talented Twitch streamer Philza ended his lengthy five-year run after being attacked by a dreaded zombie baby in magic armour, and finished by a spider. That's how I die?" said Philza as the screen suddenly flicked over to'Game Over.' "Of all the things, I knew it was going to be something stupid." Playing for that amount of time in permadeath mode -- once you die in the game, that's it, no respawning and the world is reset -- is truly impressive feat, but that doesn't make this moment any less brutal.


Magic: The Gathering is Turing Complete

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

$\textit{Magic: The Gathering}$ is a popular and famously complicated trading card game about magical combat. In this paper we show that optimal play in real-world $\textit{Magic}$ is at least as hard as the Halting Problem, solving a problem that has been open for a decade. To do this, we present a methodology for embedding an arbitrary Turing machine into a game of $\textit{Magic}$ such that the first player is guaranteed to win the game if and only if the Turing machine halts. Our result applies to how real $\textit{Magic}$ is played, can be achieved using standard-size tournament-legal decks, and does not rely on stochasticity or hidden information. Our result is also highly unusual in that all moves of both players are forced in the construction. This shows that even recognising who will win a game in which neither player has a non-trivial decision to make for the rest of the game is undecidable. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for a unified computational theory of games and remarks about the playability of such a board in a tournament setting.


Look beyond 'Fortnite' and 'Apex Legends,' to these six free video games for PCs

USATODAY

In'Dauntless,' team up with other online Slayers to hunt massive beasts known as Behemoths, before they consume what's left of the world. Dig deep in your pockets and be honest – if you have more loose change and lint than bills and credit cards, keep on reading. There are some seriously good computer games that are free to download and play – if you know where to look, that is. You probably know about high-profile freebies like "Apex Legends," "Fortnite Battle Royale," and "League of Legends," but there are many others to choose from, representing every genre. Some of these titles are older, mind you, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing given they'll require more modest computer specs to play – and hey, chances are if you don't want to pay for a $59 computer game, you might not be so eager to upgrade your hardware either.


This week in games: Lego Star Wars returns, Ubisoft gives away Assassin's Creed: Unity after Notre Dame fire

PCWorld

I've said for years that Assassin's Creed is more impressive for its art nowadays than the games themselves, but still, who would've guessed that one day Assassin's Creed would be used to restore a priceless piece of architectural history? That news, plus a new Lego Star Wars, an Old Republic expansion and potential film adaptation, details for Netflix's Witcher series, a remake of cult classic shooter XIII, and more. This is gaming news for April 15 to 19. This week's first freebie is a big one, relatively speaking. You probably heard that Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris caught on fire this week.


Assassin's Creed creators pledge €500,000 to Notre Dame

The Guardian

Video game creators at Ubisoft Montréal – the development studio that rebuilt 18th-century Paris in its 2014 historical action game Assassin's Creed Unity – have joined the global outpouring of grief in the wake of Monday's devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Ubisoft will be donating €500,000 to help with restoration efforts, and is also making Assassin's Creed Unity available free on PC for the next week, "giving everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre Dame the best way we know how", said a studio spokesperson. "We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture." Caroline Miousse, a level artist on the game, spent 14 months working almost exclusively on the cathedral, inside and out. It is furnished and decorated as it would have been in 1790, down to the paintings hanging on the walls.


The delayed 'Minecraft' movie is now set for March 2022

Engadget

The long-delayed live-action Minecraft movie has a new release date, so fans might want to make a note in their calendars for March 4th, 2022. With so many delays, it was clear it'd still be a while yet before the film hits theatres, but the 2022 news might come as a disappointment to those who were at one point expecting to see Minecraft next month. Warner Bros. and Microsoft have also revealed some story details. The movie will focus on "a teenage girl and her unlikely group of adventurers. After the malevolent Ender Dragon sets out on a path of destruction, they must save their beautiful, blocky Overworld."