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Want to Experience a Newspaper Publisher’s Struggle? You Should Play This Game

For the media, censorship has long been a contentious issue and not just top down censorship by a government that wants to curtail free speech. Market forces and currying favour can lead to a situation where companies take the path of self-censorship, where a media house chooses not to air or publish content that may be deemed offensive or obscene. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the constant struggle between publishing the truth and fighting censorship, you should play The Westport Independent.

The game is set in the fictional town of Westport in 1949, under the fascist rule of the Loyalist Party. The party passes a law that promotes censorship, which is to come into effect in 12 weeks. Your goal is to ensure that your publication doesn’t get shut down in the meantime. Since you are in the shoes of the editor-in-chief of The Westport Independent, you’ll be choosing the stories to be published, and making decisions on whether to take a pro-Loyalist or a pro-rebel stance in your coverage, while balancing that against the news your readers are interested in, to keep the circulation up.

After you clear the first stage in the game, your marketing agency will be shut down by the government so you will also have to do the marketing of the paper on your own. This involves choosing how much of your marketing budget you want to spend on the four districts of Westport. Choice of news reports combined with marketing spend will determine how much your paper sells in each district. If your paper is very popular in a district, you can influence public opinion.

The game has a very vintage feel to it, thanks to a sepia-ish theme to the art. This works well to create a post-World War II look. The Westport Independent is played through a series of simple menus with plenty of text to read, and not much else. This game will remind you of Papers, Please and that’s not surprising considering its developer Lucas Pope gets a special thanks mention in the end credits. Pope also made a game called Republia Times, which is closer in theme to The Westport Independent.

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Papers, Please links your pay and family’s well-being to the number of applications you processed every day, and this gave the game a level of intensity that’s lacking in The Westport Independent. Adding a bit of deadline pressure would definitely have helped The Westport Independent put you through the challenge editors face every day.

In an ideal world, you’d expect newspapers to print the truth and help shape public opinion. But Westport’s world is far from ideal. Here, the government starts pressuring you to print pro-Loyalist articles and threatens to take your employees into custody if you don’t toe the line. Printing the absolute truth about either the rebels or the Loyalist Party each has its consequences, presenting you with a weekly quandary.

If you want to survive in the game prepare yourself for a tough balancing act between running your business and publishing the truth. Every headline has one boring and one sensationalist variant, while you can easily use the articles to promote your agenda through censorship. Remove one key quote from an article and the story becomes lopsided.

As a journalist who’s worked in a newspaper before, you’d think that the game would be pretty easy for me. I’ve worked under various editors, and all of them have always encouraged me to steer clear of publishing just one side of the story. Similarly with headlines, it’s better to err on the side of being boring rather than picking a misleading headline. I used all of my experience as a journalist while playing The Westport Independent and the result was one of incredible frustration and disappointment.

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In my quest to highlight the fictional Loyalist Party’s anti-poor, anti-immigrant policies, and to expose the anti-labourer measures adopted by Westport’s industries, I ended up selling very few copies of the paper in rich districts of the city. That’s not to mention the constant in-game hounding by the government, taking my employees into custody, and one of my employees leaving because my stance was apparently too anti-Loyalist, leading to the eventual closure of the newspaper. I must add that I never really supported the rebels either (would you, if you knew that they bombed the president’s rally, killing several innocent civilians?). But that didn’t do me any favours either.

Your choices in The Westport Independent’s world will sway people towards the government or the rebels, both of which have serious problems. While I tried my best to highlight the problems with both sides, I couldn’t ensure that my newspaper survived for 12 weeks. In another playthrough I was a little more conservative and began printing the truth only towards the latter stages of the game. This led to rebellion in two districts and an ending that I can only describe as mildly frustrating.

If you’ve ever worked in a newsroom, you probably know that there’s no such thing as unbiased reporting. Every story has an angle and our job as writers is to ensure that all parties in the story are well-represented. The reports in The Westport Independent are often in line with this basic tenet of journalism but it’s on you to follow or ignore this rule when you’re playing.

You can’t give Westport’s poor people a voice without incurring the wrath of its fascist government. You can’t make the paper sell unless you adopt sensationalism. The rich districts will only buy your paper if you publish news about celebrities, while the poor also need to know about the industries they work for. This is the tightrope that you must walk in order to survive in the world of journalism, and a few embarrassing typos aside, The Westport Independent does a pretty good job of simulating it.

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Version 1.0 of the game has a few annoying bugs on iOS. When my newspaper got shut down by the government, the only way to start a new game was to force close the app. Similarly, when I’d resume playing the game after checking a few messages or mails, quite a few elements in the game would turn black, making them unreadable. Barring a few such technical issues though, the game performs well, and is very accessible on the iPad’s touchscreen.

Pros

  • Good story
  • Multiple endings add replay value

Cons

  • Too verbose for some
  • No deadline pressure
  • Random crashes and bugs in v1.0 on iOS

Score (out of 10): 8

We picked up a retail copy of The Westport Independent from App Store (Rs. 300) for review. It’s also available on Google Play (Rs. 299), and Steam (Rs. 369)

Original Article

Samsung Patent Hints at Smartwatch That Scans Veins to Verify Identity

Samsung Patent Hints at Smartwatch That Scans Veins to Verify Identity

Until now, we have seen several ways tech companies have made their smart devices capable of recognising users, from face recognition, fingerprint sensors, voice recognition, and even iris scanners. Now a newly published patent suggests Samsung to go even deeper inside a human body for recognition. The patent hints towards a future smartwatch that could use our veins for identity verification.

In the patent published by the USPTO titled “Wearable Device and Method of Operating the Same”, the company describes a method to identify users that takes a scan of the registered user’s vein layout, and then compares it to the layout of the person trying to authenticate themselves in the future.

“A wearable device comprising: a sensor configured to capture a vein image of a user; and a processor configured to: in response to a function or an application being selected by the user, control the sensor to capture the vein image of the user wearing the wearable device; identify the user by comparing the captured vein image with at least one registered vein image; and in response to determining that the identified user has an execution authority for the selected function or application, execute the function or the application,” says the patent, which was filed in July last year.

As with all patents, it is not necessary that the company granted the patent will use the technology in an actual production device. So, while we may never see Samsung bring the vein scanning functionality to future smartwatches, we at least know the technologies the company is exploring.

In December, a patent published by the USPTO hinted that the company might be working on a smart ring under its wearables segment. The patent describes how the ring will work and what functions it might carry.

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Original Article

Apple iWork review

Apple iWork review

Microsoft’s Workplace is the go-to software program package deal for creating and sharing paperwork, spreadsheets and shows. Google’s Docs has emerged as a great, free different for light-weight duties. However what’s typically missed is Apple’s iWork.

Final fall, the iWork functions for the Mac -Pages for phrase processing, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations- obtained their first main replace since 2009 and now work higher with iPhone and iPad variations. Apple additionally developed a web-based model that may work on Home windows computer systems and let a number of individuals collaborate on a single doc extra simply.

Apple’s iWork will not substitute Workplace, and Google Docs is best in some methods. However after utilizing iWork for a couple of months, I’ve come to understand the methods it simplifies work. It grew to become my main manner of writing information tales finally week’s Cell World Congress wi-fi present in Barcelona, Spain.

The most effective half: iWork is free with the acquisition of recent Apple units (the Mac model with new Macs and the iOS apps with new iPhones or iPads). When you get it, you may set up iWork on older units. In any other case, every of the three apps prices $20 for Macs and $10 for cellular units, or $90 for all the things. That is a one-time price. To make use of Workplace on a number of units, Microsoft costs $100 a yr.

Utilizing iWork on desktops and laptops
With each Workplace and Google Docs, you primarily take care of a toolbox of choices on the prime. That is the place you go to alter fonts or alter line spacing. With iWork, a lot of these choices are moved to a palette on the fitting, which fills within the pc’s horizontal display screen significantly better.

Extra importantly, these choices change relying on context. For primary textual content, you get primary formatting choices equivalent to font and measurement. Insert a chart, and you may alter the hole between columns. Drag and drop a photograph onto a Pages doc, and also you get image-editing instruments equivalent to cropping and colour adjustment.

In a way, the out there options come to you, and also you’re invited to discover.

With spreadsheets, the palette on the fitting aspect presents all 267 choices for formulation and calculations, organized in classes. Click on on anybody for a full description of what it does and the way it works.

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With Excel, I exploit not more than a half-dozen formulation, principally as a result of I do not know in regards to the others or cannot be bothered to determine the syntax. With Numbers, I select one from an inventory – for instance, “ROUND.” I am then proven the place to enter the quantity to spherical and the variety of decimal locations to make use of.

One other neat function: Choose a column of numbers – for instance, four, eight, 15, 16, 23 and 42. The app will mechanically calculate the outcomes utilizing 5 of the most-used formulation – equivalent to 108 for “SUM” and 18 for “AVERAGE.”

Utilizing iWork elsewhere
Though some choices and templates are lacking from iPhones and iPads, Apple does a great job of retaining the iOS apps in keeping with the Mac functions. The principle change: As a substitute of discovering choices to the fitting, you faucet numerous buttons to entry them.

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In truth, many long-time iWork customers have complained that Apple tailored the Mac model an excessive amount of to realize consistency with iOS. Some options, equivalent to utilizing information in Wealthy Textual content Format, went away. Apple guarantees to deliver among the options again within the coming months.

I’d moderately have that consistency.

With Workplace, the smartphone app is so bare-bones, I’ve hardly used it. And there is not any Workplace app in any respect for iPads and Android tablets; you are restricted to a Internet model that requires a continuing Web connection. Microsoft desires to protect Workplace as a promoting level for its Home windows tablets.

With iWork, paperwork are shared and synced by way of Apple’s iCloud storage service. Modifications made on the Mac present up on the iPad inside seconds. Line and web page breaks keep the identical.

That consistency extends to a point to the Internet model, often called iWork for iCloud. Formatting stays the identical. However as a result of it is nonetheless in a “beta” check model, the Internet model lacks key options. You possibly can’t observe adjustments or view and go away feedback, for example. New options have been coming each month or two, so anticipate enhancements over time.

Sadly, there is not any app or iCloud help for units working the rival Android system from Google. And for Home windows, you could keep on-line to make use of iCloud.

apple_iwork_icloud_mac_iphone_ipad_2_official.jpgCollaborating

One huge omission with iWork had been the flexibility to work with others on the identical paperwork. With the Internet model, now you can ship others a hyperlink from the Internet or any of the apps. Your collaborators can open up the doc on the Internet. No Apple account or iWork app is required.

It isn’t as easy or as versatile because the choices in Google Docs. When two individuals attempt to change the identical iWork doc on the similar time, all the things stops till the doc’s creator chooses which model to maintain. With Docs and Workplace, both sides will get the opposite’s adjustments. It isn’t computerized with Workplace, however no less than it really works. That is one shortcoming I hope Apple addresses earlier than the net model leaves its check part.

It is simple to transform Workplace information to iWork and again, however you would possibly lose formatting and formulation. Numbers changed some complicated formulation I had in Excel with static numbers.

Due to this, and the truth that there are not any stand-alone Home windows apps, iWork is not prepared but as a substitute for Workplace.

A colleague in Korea had some bother opening a Pages doc I attempted to share by way of the Internet, so I needed to copy textual content into an e-mail message. And tales I wrote in iWork needed to be pasted right into a generic format for modifying.

Nonetheless, iWork is an effective possibility for private paperwork that do not require a number of sharing. If that is all you want, there is not any sweeter phrase than free.

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Elite: Dangerous Review – Lost in Space

Elite: Dangerous Review - Lost in Space

Area simulation video games have been within the information of late, and never for good causes both. Be it Star Citizen’s lengthy drawn and really public growth controversy, or the underlying sigh that punctuates each show of No Man’s Sky, the actual fact is that these are video games of grand ambition and scale, that need to put you inside an unlimited galaxy to discover and immerse your self in. The sheer scope and measurement is kind of frankly why they haven’t any agency launch date.

After which there’s Elite: Harmful for the Xbox One. Very like the aforementioned video games, it too, is an area simulator. There is not a lot of an underlying narrative or sweeping story. You are thrown into an unlimited open galaxy with a small ship and little or no cash with the target of surviving and maybe even thriving in house. You may resort to piracy, assassinations, buying and selling, and bounty searching amongst different means to get by. And you will not be alone: relying on the way you determine to play, you will occupy the identical house as different actual gamers.

The sport exhibits up on the Xbox One, one after Microsoft introduced at E3 2015 that it could be coming to the console, through its newly instituted Xbox Recreation Preview Program (assume Steam’s Early Entry mannequin however for consoles). Previous to this it was unique to PC after a profitable Kickstarter marketing campaign. Is the sport what you’d anticipate on console? The reply is each sure and no.

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Your first few hours of Elite: Harmful are an train in persistence. You may come to phrases with the sport’s management scheme, study the intricacies concerned in touchdown and docking your ship, and expertise dogfights in house. The sport’s tutorials are somewhat sparse. To study fundamental ideas akin to growing and reducing the velocity of your ship, it’s worthwhile to watch movies on YouTube, previous to even taking over the primary tutorial. It is not the best recreation to get into.

Fortunately, the builders have included hyperlinks to YouTube that open in Web Explorer on the Xbox One that will help you get by. Even then, should you have been anticipating a easy, free flowing introduction to house, you would possibly need to mood your expectations and put together to be schooled. When you’re completed greedy the fundamentals, you are flung into house, randomly spawning on one of many many star techniques in-game. Begin by launching your ship out from an area station, or participating enemy fighters, or plying a commerce route, and you will realise the sheer scale of the sport.

Huge swathes of house occupy a big chunk of the proceedings. You may spend at the least 10 to 15 minutes attending to your vacation spot, and once you do, you will need to discover even additional to search out precisely what you are on the lookout for, whether or not you are searching pirates, or delivering supplies. You actually really feel the sense of scale because of the space. Elite: Harmful is about in a close to reproduction of the Milky Method with its 400 billion star techniques full with asteroids, planets, and procedurally generated occasions.

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With the sport providing you with such a large space to traverse, it is easy to get overwhelmed or misplaced. And also you typically will probably be misplaced. As a rule, the easiest way to play Elite: Harmful is with lots of warning. To start with, taking over a bunch of small duties and slowly buying higher weapons and ship components is a shrewd transfer. Mixed with the gradual tempo of missions (because of the time it takes to journey from one a part of the galaxy to a different) the sport shortly devolves into tedium.

Nonetheless it is the form of grinding gameplay that had us coming again for extra. You see, Elite: Harmful is steeped intimately. From the immense quantity of data you’ll be able to glean through the various menus in your ship, to the bulletin boards of its quite a few house ports that hold you abreast of what is going on on throughout star techniques, you actually really feel like a speck in a grand, dwelling, respiration cosmos.

At occasions you are a speck firing laser beams. Whilst you can peacefully get by in Elite: Harmful by plying as an area service provider, the fight is exhilarating. There’s an emphasis on shifting energy distribution on the proper time. So if you end up in the back of an opposing vessel, diverting your energy to weapons means that you can hit it with a deadly barrage of photographs that may yield a straightforward victory. On the run from persistent house pirates? Divert energy to your engines for a speedy escape.

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Fight is when Elite: Harmful really comes alive, and that is one thing creator Frontier Developments understands. A lot in order that it has included a multiplayer fight element for gamers to participate in. Dubbed the CQC Championship (CQC stands for Shut Quarters Fight) this mode has you pilot ships in small confined zones, akin to asteroid belts, seeking to get the higher of your opposition. Right here everybody has related ships with a couple of tweaks to account for various weaponry.

For many half it performs like a twitchy, fast-paced counterpart to the gradual, deliberate fight of the primary recreation. It is simple to get into and sports activities the same old multiplayer modes we all know and love akin to deathmatch, group deathmatch, and seize the flag. Our expertise in CQC Championship has been easy and if that adjustments drastically post-release we’ll replace our evaluate accordingly.

 

Very like Diablo three on PC, Elite: Harmful is all the time on-line. Whereas this could be a deal breaker for some, particularly in nations like India the place Web entry is not the best, it is a necessity to forestall gamers from dishonest since they share the identical recreation world. You would possibly surprise how this might impression a closed system just like the Xbox One, it is as a result of the PC and Xbox One model will share the identical narrative, economic system, diplomacy and galactic energy states, all of which could be affected and influenced by gamers on all platforms. Having considered one of them offline upsets the imaginative and prescient of a shared universe.

With a improbable sense of scale, consideration to element, nice fight, and an bold imaginative and prescient of a shared universe make Elite: Harmful effectively price testing. However its let down by punishing opening hours and tedious pacing. In the event you can abdomen these, you will discover a whole cosmos begging to be explored.

Execs

  • Epic sense of scale
  • Area fight is enjoyable
  • Nice consideration to element

Cons

  • Robust to get into
  • Missions really feel dragged out
  • Gradual pacing

Score (out of 10): 7

We performed a evaluate copy of Elite: Harmful on the Xbox One, it is out there digitally on the Xbox Recreation Retailer at Rs. 1,540 and is a 5.32GB obtain.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Is Real and It’s Spectacular

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Is Real and It's Spectacular

Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache has been within the information for every thing however the recreation itself. There have been allegations of mistreatment of employees and a hovering growth finances of $80 million; the spectacle behind collection creator Hideo Kojima’s remaining recreation at Konami is palpable.

In a method, it is type of tragic to see a recreation like this being overshadowed by the actual life drama surrounding it. At Gamescom 2015 NDTV Devices managed to get a prolonged hands-on with what gave the impression to be a remaining construct of Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache. From what we skilled, this might very nicely be the perfect recreation you play this 12 months.

Play your method, irrespective of how ridiculous it could be
The mission out there for preview concerned infiltrating a base within the desert. We needed to discover the commander of the bottom and kill him. The primary time round, we performed the mission like rank newcomers, operating in the direction of the bottom on the pace of sound. Clearly, alarm bells went off and we discovered troopers surrounding us at each nook. Due to the intuitive management scheme and wealth of devices at our disposal, we nonetheless managed to defeat these foes with relative ease.

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The sensation of firing the weapons is lifelike, with pistols and rifles sporting the requisite heft and recoil you’d count on from a collection that’s infamous for consideration to element. The sport’s quick melee fight ensured a fast finish to troopers who have been unwise to stroll close to us. Digging via our choices within the recreation’s menu we could not cross off a chance to summon an airstrike after which a robotic. Sure, we managed a bipedal robotic with a gatling gun (or a ‘walker’ because the collection refers to it) in a stealth recreation. The end result was an entertaining romp which might make most summer time blockbusters appear to be low-rent day time cleaning soap operas.

Play it the best way it needs to be meant
We performed the identical mission a second time, with the intention of enjoying it like ninjas would; silently and stealthily. Because the mission takes place in an arid, desert area, we stayed near the bottom, fastidiously utilizing the sport’s tagging system to mark out the place enemy troopers could be patrolling. As an alternative of operating and gunning with deadly firearms and explosives, we used a tranquilliser gun as an alternative, utilizing it solely twice. Fairly than laying waste to all the camp, we managed to tag our goal and monitor his patrol route. And as an alternative of killing him like the sport wished us to, we determined to render him unconscious to be whisked away by the sport’s Fulton restoration system.

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Amass a military by making kidnapping troopers
Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache helps you to handle Mom Base, your location of operations. To take action, you want troopers. And to do that, you want render enemy troopers unconscious via fast melee assaults, stun grenades or utilizing a tranquilliser gun, after which you’ll be able to kidnap them with a faucet of the button to make use of the Fulton Restoration system – an actual life technique that lets you strap a harness and a self-inflating balloon to unconscious troopers. They’re then whisked away to Mom Base, and put to work as cooks, cleaners, and even counsellors. Mixed with the assets you will discover in missions that can be utilized to enhance your base additional, build up Mom Base turns into greater than only a gimmick.

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(Additionally see: Fable Legends Exhibits You Do not Should Kill to be a Hero)

A way of scale
Konami claims that Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache is 200 occasions greater than Metallic Gear Strong V: Floor Zeroes, the prologue chapter of the sport which was launched earlier. And so they’re not mistaken. The map we performed was enormous, sporting a different panorama, a number of encampments and you may even use a horse very like you’ll be able to in The Witcher three to traverse the area. There is a day and evening cycle too that impacts the way you strategy the mission and enemy AI behaves in another way too. With no loading screens inside the degree, you may by no means really feel a break within the immersion both.

It seems superb
Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache is a deal with for the eyes. We performed it on a debug PlayStation four (PS4) console and it seemed incredible. From slick climate results, to the best way protagonist Snake runs, each inch seems pixel excellent, or at the very least near it. With the PC model due on Steam on the identical day because the console launch (September 1) and a bodily PC launch to observe, it is going to be fascinating to see how a recreation that appears this good on the PS4 utilises the surplus horsepower out there on PCs.

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With considerate design that enables for accessibility to newcomers who’ve by no means performed a Metallic Gear Strong recreation of their lives and stealth gameplay mechanics that might appease even essentially the most demanding fan, Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache appears to be a deal with for followers and newcomers alike. Nonetheless, it is essential to keep in mind that whereas our preliminary impressions have been overwhelmingly optimistic, they’re primarily based on a single mission and never the sport in its entirety. Nonetheless, we will not wait to see how Metallic Gear Strong V: The Phantom Ache pans out, when it hits the cabinets on September 1.

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Original NDTV Gadgets