The map of Damascus in the first Assassin's Creed was 0.13km². Since then, the map in each successive game has been bigger than the one before. Based on that history, we can expect the map for the upcoming AC: Odyssey to be bigger than last year's brilliant AC: Origins. Dimitras Galatas put together a short video comparing maps from several of the Assassin's Creed games. The map of Greece for Odyssey is shown at 130km², a substantial increase over the tiny map of Damascus and more than 2.5 times as large as AC: Origin's 80km² map of Egypt.
Fans of the computer game, Minecraft, may have already grown their own Yellow Meranti tree. But unlike on your computer screen, Yellow Meranti trees are huge and can grow to be as tall as 20 double-decker buses. Researchers have now found a tree in Malaysia which stands at a massive 89.5 metres tall, placing it 1.2 metres ahead of the previous record holder. The tree is part of the forest known as'Sabah's Lost World' - the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, one of Malaysia's last few untouched wildernesses The huge tree was discovered by scientists from the University of Cambridge working with the Sabah Forestry Department to help protect the area's biodiversity. Dr David Coomes, who led the study, said: 'It's a smidgen taller than the record, which makes it quite probably the tallest tree recorded in the Tropics!' At 89.5 metres, it is the height of 20 double decker buses, and just shorter than Big Ben.
It's been an emotional week in the realm of game AI as the world watched the historic five-game showdown between legendary Go world champion Lee Sedol and Google DeepMind's famed deep learning AI AlphaGo. All five games were held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, and as events played out, millions around the world became increasingly captivated. Anticipation for the match began growing in January, when Google's UK-based AI group DeepMind, led by CEO Demis Hassabis, announced their computer algorithm AlphaGo defeated three-time European Go champion Fan Hui 5 games to 0--a victory some experts didn't expect a computer to achieve for a decade. At the end of a Google blog post announcing the win was the promise of a best-of-five face-off between AlphaGo and 18-time international Go champion Lee Sedol, a match equivalent to IBM's Deep Blue defeat of Garry Kasparov in chess in 1997. Notably, Go is inherently more complex than chess and AlphaGo, at least in part, trained itself to play the game.
A UK tax policy intended to boost the domestic video games industry has been used by some of the world's largest entertainment companies to avoid paying tens of millions of pounds in corporation tax, a Guardian investigation has found. WarnerMedia, which owns the British game development companies that make the Lego and Batman: Arkham series, has claimed up to £60m in corporation tax relief, according to company filings. Sony, the owner of PlayStation, claimed almost £30m. Japanese multinational Sega claimed up to £20m, according to audits of its UK subsidiaries that make the strategy-based Total War games and the hit sports series Football Manager. Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR), which enables game developers to claim back up to 20% of certain production costs, was introduced in 2014 after years of lobbying by the industry.
The video game industry has already taken 2016 by storm. With San Francisco's annual Game Developers Conference seeing record numbers of attendees, and Ubisoft's The Division becoming the fastest-selling original IP in games history – and generating 300m in the process – there's good reason to be excited if you're a video game fan. If first-person shooters are not your cup of tea, there's Stardew Valley, a new role-playing adventure game that allows you to go fishing, plant seeds and fall in love. Joining co-hosts Keith Stuart and Jordan Erica Webber are the founder of UK-based studio Fourth State, Mark Backler, and the community manager at Chucklefish, Molly Carroll.