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8 Gardening and Plant-Based Video Games for Spring

WIRED

A fantastic game to play for a little escape from reality after a rough day, The Sims 4 has splendid gardening mechanics in the base game. If you've ever fantasized about owning a nice house with the perfect backyard for gardening, try The Sims 4. In her roundup of the best game additions available for purchase, product writer and reviewer Louryn Strampe recommends Seasons ($40). She writes, "If you're only getting one expansion, this is the one you want." In addition to dynamic weather, the Season pack unlocks a gardener career path, which lets you role-play as a botanist or floral designer. Devoted players searching for even more plant experiences may appreciate crafting homestead fantasies with the Cottage Living Expansion Pack ($40) or designing the ideal outdoor space for making out with the Romantic Garden Stuff ($10).


Video game developers want fair online games. Some players really don't.

Washington Post - Technology News

Technical advancements make skill-based matchmaking techniques better every year, enticing average audiences to play more. But those same changes have also left a sour taste in some players' mouths who publishers have a vested interest in keeping happy -- their live streams help market games. Game companies have the seemingly impossible task of satisfying both sides; on one end, the massive player base of everyday gamers that define their bottom line and, on the other, the pros and content creators they use as for PR for those same audiences. But if these systems are indeed built to maximize players' enjoyment, it can sometimes seem like they're not working very well. Hate for skill-based matchmaking is hardly a phenomenon confined to top streamers or salty Call of Duty players. As awareness about these algorithms grows, communities in "Valorant," "Overwatch," "Apex Legends" and even more casual games like "FIFA" and "Dead by Daylight" have all, at one point or another, sharply criticized matchmaking for reducing their enjoyment of the game.


TSM finds 'no unlawful conduct' in investigation of CEO Andy Dinh

Washington Post - Technology News

Andy is not someone who I want to interact with, and he's definitely someone I'm actively trying to avoid, which feels a bit weird considering he's at the top of the food chain at my own company,


Epic gives away the entire Bioshock series for free

PCWorld

Bioshock, the action-horror staple that blended RPG elements, solid gunplay, and Randian-inspired horror, is an undisputed gaming classic. Bioshock Infinite took it one step further, adding amazing swashbuckling movement mechanics, incredible supporting characters, and a reality-warping story that pulled no narrative punches. Also, Bioshock 2 was a video game. Following up its impressive Borderlands 3 freebie, the Epic Games Store is giving away the PC version of all three Bioshock games this week. PC gamers can grab Bioshock: The Collection, a bundle of 2007's Bioshock, 2010's Bioshock 2, and 2013's Bioshock Infinite, on the Epic Games Store. Like other Epic freebies, you can keep the games forever once they're claimed with your Epic account.


Microsoft's Code-Writing AI Points to the Future of Computers

#artificialintelligence

Microsoft just showed how artificial intelligence could find its way into many software applications--by writing code on the fly. At the Microsoft Build developer conference today, the company's chief technology officer, Kevin Scott, demonstrated an AI helper for the game Minecraft. The non-player character within the game is powered by the same machine learning technology Microsoft has been testing for auto-generating software code. The feat hints at how recent advances in AI could change personal computing in years to come by replacing interfaces that you tap, type, and click to navigate into interfaces that you simply have a conversation with. The Minecraft agent responds appropriately to typed commands by converting them into working code behind the scenes using the software API for the game.


Minecraft's big wilderness update arrives June 7th

Engadget

It took several months, but Minecraft's The Wild Update is nearly here. Mojang and Microsoft are releasing The Wild across all platforms on June 7th, and it remains as expansive as promised. The refresh adds two biomes, a mangrove swamp as well as a "deep dark" that hides vicious mobs (such as the Shrieker and Warden) as well as special resources. You can also sail a boat with a chest, so you won't need to leave supplies behind if you're crossing a lake. The upgrade also adds a mud block (made with dirt and water, naturally), a crowd-voted item collector mob (the allay) and a frog that grows from tadpoles.


'Diablo Immortal' aims to be a breakthrough hit for AAA mobile games

Washington Post - Technology News

Since then, "Diablo Immortal" has boosted its reputation, as alpha and beta tests proved the game was a full-throated, classic Diablo experience. The Diablo series is one of the most influential in modern game design, popularizing gameplay loops that center acquiring randomized "loot" to make your role-playing character more powerful. "Diablo 2," which was recently remastered, cemented this loop, while "Diablo 3," which Cheng also worked on, streamlined and evolved it.


Create a Bot to Find Diamonds in Minecraft

#artificialintelligence

Minecraft is the next frontier for Artificial Intelligence. It takes an entire wiki with over 8000 pages just to teach humans how to play Minecraft. So how good can be artificial intelligence? This is the question we'll answer in this article. We'll design a bot and try to achieve one of the most difficult challenges in Minecraft: finding diamonds from scratch.


Microsoft's Code-Writing AI Points to the Future of Computers

WIRED

Microsoft just showed how artificial intelligence could find its way into many software applications--by writing code on the fly. At the Microsoft Build developer conference today, the company's chief technology officer, Kevin Scott, demonstrated an AI helper for the game Minecraft. The non-player character within the game is powered by the same machine learning technology Microsoft has been testing for auto-generating software code. The feat hints at how recent advances in AI could change personal computing in years to come by replacing interfaces that you tap, type, and click to navigate into interfaces that you simply have a conversation with. The Minecraft agent responds appropriately to typed commands by converting them into working code behind the scenes using the software API for the game.


Call of Duty Endowment to host in-game charity run via 'Warzone'

Washington Post - Technology News

In the last decade, in-game events like Veteruns, store bundles and esports competitions have all been used as vehicles to raise money for charity. Between March 20 and April 3, all "Fortnite" proceeds were donated to four humanitarian relief funds to aid those affected by the war in Ukraine. Awesome Games Done Quick, in which players speed run hundreds of titles such as "Deathloop," "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" and "Super Mario 3D Land" for charity, raised over $3 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. And "League of Legends" players sent $6 million to Riot Games' Social Impact Fund through the purchase of the game's 1,000th skin.