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Updated: 32 weeks 4 days ago

Hello Neighbor is an upcoming horror game in which the AI learns from your every move.

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 09:49

Hello Neighbor is an upcoming horror game in which the AI learns from your every move. A teaser trailer is now live and you can sign up for the alpha here.

A Look At How No Man's Sky's Procedural Generation Works

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 09:30

No Man’s Sky might not be everyone’s cup of tea but its code is pretty impressive. Blogger gregkwaste outlined exactly how the space exploration game creates its procedurally generated creatures and more.

In a post at 3dgamedevblog.com, Greg provides an exhaustive breakdown of the process behind No Man’s Sky’s various monsters and spaceships. Here’s how a potential creature’s model looks before it is generated:

The animal is a horrific mess of potential body parts and contradicting geometries. However, each geometrical object has a name that points to a descriptor. These classify each regions such as a creature’s head or other body parts. These descriptors can then be mashed together and assembled through code to make a new animal. Essentially taking bits and pieces from descriptor pools until they create a valid critter.

Greg assembled creatures that all come from the model you see above, the result are a variety of aliens that share commonalities but still end up being relatively unique:

All of the above creatures started from the same base model. What determines the chance of a body part being used is a bit unclear. Greg posits they are either decided by the game’s engine when running or contained elsewhere in the code. However, each piece seems to have a relatively equal chance of selection. This applies for spaceship models as well. Ship designs are procedurally generated in a manner similar to animals. Greg’s post also covers texture generation and animations. I highly recommend reading it in full.

This doesn’t mean there’s infinite possibilities for the game. Last month, an intrepid player decided to see what would happen if you entered into a 256th new galaxy. It turns out that after you moved beyond this number of galaxies, they start to repeat. You can see specifics in Ryan Zea’s video below:

Whatever your thoughts about No Man’s Sky, I think the raw breadth of the code is impressive. If anything else, it’s given us no end of penis monsters. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

A Candy Crush Saga TV Show Is In The Works

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 09:00

Just when we thought we were over the Candy Crush Saga frenzy, CBS, Lionsgate and King reveal plans to turn the hit mobile game into an hour-long, live-action TV game show.

According to the official press release from CBS, 18 billion rounds of Candy Crush Saga and its spin-offs are still played every month around the world. That’s the sort of number that gets television heads turning, and likely a driving force behind CBS ordering a game show based on King’s platform-defining series.

They’ve tapped reality TV king Matt Kunitz (The Real World, Fear Factor, Wipeout) to create a brand new format, in which two teams of two people use wits and agility to navigate an enormous interactive game board.

From the press release:

“The Candy Crush franchise lends itself perfectly to the kind of larger-than-life, physical game shows that I love to produce and CBS is the perfect home for it,” said executive producer Matt Kunitz (“Wipeout,” “Fear Factor”). “As a Candy Crush Saga player myself, I am excited to amp up the action and visuals in our huge Candy Crush Arena.”

Trying to imagine what that will look like is likely much more amusing than the actual show will wind up being. So sticky.

The game show, simply titled Candy Crush, will be broadcast on CBS in North America, with Lionsgate Television handling international distribution.

The Pokémon Sun and Moon Demo Is Out Now, And It's Worth Playing

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 08:32

Good news, 3DS owners. You can now go into the Nintendo eShop and download a small taste of the upcoming Pokémon games.

The demo is not hard to find: it’s currently the first thing that pops up in eShop when you load into it. While much of the content inside of the demo is currently leaking online, it’s still worth downloading if you’re planning on playing the full game. The demo gives players access to a special level 36 “Ash-Greninja,” which will be transferable to the full game come November. You can see it in action in the trailer below:

Curiously, the demo also encourages players to replay it on specific days according to Pokemon fansite Serebii, and doing so will net people extra gifts.

The demo is a slice of the Sun and Moon experience that takes place separate from the events of the actual games. Players will be able to tackle a “trial,” which is the new system that replaces gyms. As you can see in the trailer, trials do not simply require battling—in this case, the player is asked to take pictures of a Pokémon in order to progress. It’s an exciting change of pace that reminds me heavily of Pokémon Snap. Based on earlier reveals, we know that trials in the full game will also incorporate unconventional challenges, such as item collection.

If nothing else, the demo should be experienced just to see the splendor of Alolan Dugtrio. Amazing.

And if you really want to spoil yourself now: the full Pokedex, including the final starter evolutions, have leaked thanks to the demo. 

Hasbro is starting its own fan convention next year.

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 08:22

Hasbro is starting its own fan convention next year. The toy and game company behind everything from Dungeons & Dragons to My Little Pony will hold the first Hascon in Providence, Rhode Island September 8-10. It sounds like heaven. Find out more here.

Overwatch Teams Stop Fighting Each Other To Thwart Cheater

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 08:00

Cheating might win you a game, but it won’t win you any friends. In this case, the red-handed dickhead didn’t get either.

Overwatch player SixZoSeven recounted a recent incident in which their competitive mode team picked up somebody pretty obviously using an aimbot, a type of cheat that aims for you, as opposed to an AOL Instant Messenger novelty from the early 2000's. Normally, players would grit their teeth and bear it, but this time, both teams decided they weren’t gonna have any of the cheater’s shit. SixZoSeven explained in a post on Reddit:

“Immediately upon joining the game, people from both teams instantly call out a player on my team for being a blatant aimbotter over the course of multiple games throughout the morning. Someone from our team, despite having the cheater, threw out the idea of going for a draw. Sure enough, it was agreed upon that a draw would only be fair. Both teams just ran around doing silly things. Of course we did have to mitigate any shenanigans from the cheater, since he was still trying to go for eliminations.”

The cheater tried to capture a point for the first half of the game, but repeatedly came up against Reinhardt shields, D.Va defense matrixes, and you know, two whole teams cooperating to make their life difficult. “The cheater didn’t appear to be fluent in English, but would type in chat things along the lines of ‘im just pro-gamer’ or ‘WOW NO DRAW,’” SixZoSeven explained to me via DMs. Eventually, they switched to Torbjorn and just sat around until the match ended. As far as SixZoSeven is concerned, that was an admission of defeat.

Names censored by SixZoSeven to protect people’s identities and whatnot.

Both teams went on to report the cheater, but apparently they haven’t been banned yet. SixZoSeven is in the process of filing a more comprehensive complaint that’ll hopefully be the nail in this cheater’s coffin.

The bigger lesson in their eyes, however, is that it’s possible to clean up Overwatch from within and without. “I find it very interesting that us players were able to invent our own system of combating the cheaters,” SixZoSeven told me. “Blizzard’s job is to ban the cheaters, while ours was to maintain the integrity of our skill ratings! And to report cheaters, of course.”

SixZoSeven thinks Blizzard has the right idea in taking a hardline, hardware-ban-heavy stance on cheating, but there’s always room for improvement.

“I think Blizzard should definitely consider the idea of expanding their anti-hack/cheat/exploit team,” they said. “Automated systems are nice, but the addition of human hands to assist in tricky situations/reports would be extremely helpful as well. I used to be an Admin at the first and largest Minecraft Survival Games community, where I was responsible for handling tens of thousands of rule-breakers and cheaters.”

“In addition to this, I feel Blizzard has an advantage in anti-cheat solutions given their use of a custom-built game engine, rather than using the Source engine like in Counter-Strike or other popular game engines such as Unreal Engine or Unity,” they added. “Although I don’t know specifics of their situation, surely this has a possibility of being advantageous.”

Ultimately, though, SixZoSeven’s takeaway from all of this is a positive one. “The takeaway here isn’t so much that cheaters exist,” they said at the conclusion of their post, “but the fact that we as players can take steps to mitigate the damage they cause. After all, Overwatch is, without a doubt, a game of teamwork!”

Rocksteady Hid One Hell Of An Arkham VR Easter Egg In Arkham Knight

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 07:47

A wall covered in writing in Batman Arkham Knight that baffled thousands of players for months was a brazen Easter Egg teasing October’s Arkham VR. It was hiding nearly in plain sight for nine months, ever since development studio Rocksteady snuck it into Arkham Knight via some DLC in January.

Spoilers follow, of course.

The wall outlines the plot of the Arkham VR game, though thankfully doesn’t spoil the mystery in the VR game.

It does lay out the stakes, establishing that there is a murder, raising the question of whether the victim knew his killer, mentioning the Penguin, underlining the word “shrapnel” and referencing “bodies in the morgue.”

In Arkham VR, Batman comes across what appears to be the murdered body of his ally Nightwing, has reason to think the victim knew his killer, winds up grilling the Penguin about it and then examines bodies in a morgue to find shrapnel. Later, he visits a prison.

None of the details on the wall made sense to Arkham Knight players when they discovered the board in January of this year. That’s when Knight’s six or so months of DLC ended with the release of fan-favorite challenge maps from earlier Arkham games. One of those was a hero-vs.-thugs contest set in Wayne Manor that Rocksteady brought back from 2011's Arkham City but with a little hidden extra.

Gamers who played the map in Arkham Knight immediately noticed that they were prompted to play the piano in Wayne Manor. Playing it caused wood paneling behind the piano to open and reveal the wall covered in notes.

It wasn’t clear what the wall meant. The video of the hidden wall has generated more than 400,000 clicks and dozens of baffled comments from fans speculating about what it might tease.

Many Arkham fans hoped it might involve a forthcoming Batman game. There is precedent. Rocksteady boldly hid a room in 2009's Arkham Asylum that teased the plot of 2011's Arkham City, as this video demonstrates:

It’s not clear who first made the Knight-VR connection, but a Redditor did spot it yesterday, drawing our attention to it as well. It’s a remarkable bit of teasing but also a hint at how Arkham VR came about.Rocksteady creative director Sefton Hill told Kotaku at E3 that Arkham VR wasn’t a project that the studio had planned for a long time and said it became something bigger the more they worked on it. The Easter Egg that Knight now has for Arkham VR also wasn’t in Knight for a long time. It was added in the game’s final DLC, long after the main game’s June 2015 release. It’s plausible that Rocksteady wasn’t even planning Arkham VR when they launched Knight and therefore didn’t have a future Batman game to even tease at the time.

Now, of course, one wonders what secrets Arkham VR is hiding. Rocksteady has said they’re done with the Arkham series, but would they hide something in their latest release that would tease what they’re doing next? Nobody would put it past them.

Today's Best Deals: Winter Apparel, iPhone Cases, Anker Chargers

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 06:50

Amazon’s one-day winter apparel sale, iPhone 7 cases, and a popular Rowenta steam iron lead off Tuesday’s best deals.

http://deals.kinja.com/todays-best-li…

Bookmark Kinja Deals and follow us on Twitter to never miss a deal. Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter.

Top DealsOutdoor Apparel and Gear Amazon Sale

Okay, so even though the high today in NYC is supposed to be 80, it’s never too early to think about your winter apparel. Amazon’s huge (seriously, HUGE) sale on apparel and gear from Columbia, Burton, White Sierra and more will have you covered. Everything from winter coats and snow pants, to snowboard boots and goggles, is marked down.

If you’re just looking for new apparel, it’s broken down between men, women, boys, and girls (but there are still 5-6 pages of options each). Gear is a little more broad, with basic winter needs like gloves and face masks, but also snowshoeing kits and ice skates.

It’s no secret that Anker makes some of your favorite charging gear, and this week, you can save a few bucks on the company’s fast-charging Qi pad, plus a variety of USB charging hubs.

http://gear.lifehacker.com/your-favorite-…

All of the deals are listed below, just be sure to note the promo codes.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00…

Rowenta DW8080 Steam Iron, $55

Rowenta makes some of the most popular irons on the market, and the 4.2 star-rated DW8080 has been pressed to a crisp $55 on Amazon today as part of a Gold Box deal.

This 1700W iron has 400 holes, can use regular tap water, and can even function as a vertical steamer for hanging clothes. I got a very similar model as a wedding gift, and it’s fantastic. Just note that while today’s price is an all-time low, it’s only available today, or until sold out.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00305H9U6/…

$60 Netflix Gift Card + $10 Bonus Best Buy Gift Card, $60

Well, here’s your no-brainer deal of the day. If you buy a $60 Netflix gift card from Best Buy right now, you’ll get a bonus $10 Best Buy gift card tossed in for free. You were going to give that $60 to Netflix anyway, let’s be honest, so this deal is all upside.

30% off JetBlue Flights, promo code BIG30. Terms & Conditions. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

If you have any travel planned in the next few months, or just feel like getting away for a few days, JetBlue is taking 30% off all base fares with promo code BIG30, today only.

The deal is valid on flights from October 26 to December 15, excluding Sunday flights, and flights that don’t originate in the U.S. Click here for all the terms and conditions, then use this link to book. Don’t forget the code!

TP-Link AC750 Range Extender, $25

Wi-Fi range extenders can’t work miracles, but if there’s one spot in your house with spotty coverage, they can be a much cheaper solution than buying a new router. So at $25, why not give this one a try? That’s within $5 of an all-time low.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NR2VMNC/…

Mpow Magneto Bluetooth Headphones, $15 with code O25AOGSO

Mpow’s Magneto Bluetooth earbuds look a lot nicer than the uber-popular Swifts, and at $15, they’re not any more expensive. They even pause your music automatically when you snap the two magnetic earbuds together.

http://bestsellers.kinja.com/bestsellers-mp…

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014XM6HXE?…

Coolest Cooler, $175

In a move that will in no way anger the Coolest Cooler’s spurned Kickstarter backers, Amazon’s marked the cooler/blender/speaker system down to $175 today. That’s a whopping $325 less than its original price, and an all-time low.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01…

http://gizmodo.com/failed-kicksta…

Aukey 20,000mAh 3.4A Battery Pack With Lightning Input, $23 with code 2AUPOWER

$23 is a good price for any 20,000mAh USB battery pack, but it’s especially tempting when you consider that this model from Aukey has a rare (and optional) Lightning input. That means iPhone owners can recharge it on the go without packing a grody microUSB cable.

https://www.amazon.com/20000mAh-Light…

Xbox One + $50 Gift Card + Free Bonus Game

The Xbox One deals continue unabated, with Microsoft now offering up a $50 gift card and a free bonus game (from a very limited selection) when you purchase a console. This deal is available on two separate Xbox One S consoles, plus the “old” Xbox Name Your Game bundle, which is now marked down to $250.

2 Medium-Sized Candles, $10 with code FA162856

Bath & Body Works has a deal happening practically every day, but this isn’t one to miss. Not only can you mix-and-match two medium-sized candles for $20, add the code FA162856 and you’ll get one of those candles for free, while still getting the other for only $10.

Note: This extra discount is for a free full-priced item (up to $13) when you spend $10+, which means if you were looking for something else at Bath & Body Works, the code will work for that too.

SUPCASE iPhone 7/7 Plus Sale

If you got yourself a new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, Amazon wants to protect it with this one-day SUPCASE sale.

Inside, you’ll find a variety of case styles, plus some exercise armbands designed specifically for the new phones. Several even have transparent backs, so you can shamelessly flaunt your rose gold or jet black finish. They all err on the side of durability, rather than minimalism, but if you’re a bit of a klutz, these are all solid deals.

2-Pack microUSB to USB-C Adapters + USB-C to Female USB-A Adapter, $6 with code AUKEYUSB

Just because your new phone charges over USB-C doesn’t mean you have to throw away all of your old microUSB cables. With a 2-pack of USB-C to microUSB adapters, it’s cheap and easy to convert them on demand. You’ll also get a bonus USB-C to USB-A female adapter, just for kicks.

https://www.amazon.com/Adapters-Femal…

2x OxyLED Tap Lights, $10 with code 2OXYLT01 | 2x OxyLED Motion Lights, $17 with code 2OXYLT02

Stick-anywhere LED lights are great for illuminating dark closets and cabinets, and two different models from OxyLED are on sale today when you buy two.

The T-01 is your basic, barebones tap light, while the T-02 includes more LEDs and a motion sensor. Just add two of either light to your cart, use the corresponding promo code, and you should get both for the price listed below.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GD8OKY0?…

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J4EQVPG?…

$115 Lowe’s Gift Card, $100

If you have any DIY or home improvement projects on the horizon, this discounted Lowe’s gift card is a no-brainer. I suggest spending the $15 you saved on booze to drink while you operate power tools.

TaoTronics Swiveling Magnetic Air Vent Mount, $4 with code 6F93IHFO

Deals on magnetic smartphone car vent mounts are about as common as Rattatas in Pokémon Go, but $4 is an unprecedented price for a model that can tilt and swivel. Just use code 6F93IHFO at checkout, and remember to keep your eyes on the road.

http://gear.lifehacker.com/bestsellers-au…

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BF0H8AI?…

Worx Electric TriVac, $80

The Worx Electric TriVac is a leaf blower, yes. But with the flip of a switch, it reverses suction and becomes an outdoor vacuum and mulcher, and Amazon’s marked it down to an all-time low $80 today, just in time for fall.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MN4YCKK/…

Note: This model doesn’t have a battery, so you’ll want to get an extension cord if you don’t already own one.

https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Cable-…

40% off your entire purchase with code FALL

Previously, the discounts at GAP hadn’t included their jeans, which is a shame because they’re great at denim. But this time, when you use the code FALL, you’ll knock 40% off your entire purchase, and denim is included.

A few other things to consider: the 40% off works on GAP’s pretty large (up to 60% off) sale section and at it also stretches to Banana Republic and Old Navy. Plus, the shopping bag you load up to stuff will stay with you across those sites so that you can purchase multiple things from all three stores without having to check out a million times.

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat + Echo Dot, $200. Add both to cart, discount shown automatically.

Update: Looks like they killed this deal, sorry!

The new, $50 Echo Dot promises to be the voice-controlled smart home hub of the future, and you can get one for free today when you pair it with a compatible ecobee3 smart thermostat.

http://gizmodo.com/now-anyone-can…

All you have to do is add both the Dot and the thermostat to your cart, and you’ll get the Dot for free, and save $50 on the ecobee. If you aren’t familiar, the ecobee3 uses a remote temperature sensor to monitor your home’s air in multiple areas, which actually makes it smarter than the iconic Nest thermostat. And if you litter your home in Amazon Dots, you’ll be able to control it with just your voice.

Purell Dispenser, $10

You know those Purell dispensers you see in office buildings? Now you can have one in your own home for just $10, complete with a full tank of the good stuff. It might seem a little silly, but this would be fantastic for germ-soaked child hands, and I could see installing one of these in a garage or shed where your hands are likely to get dirty.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZK3QXE/…

All-Clad Master Chef 7-Piece, $255 | 10-Piece, $405

Anyone with even a passing interest in cooking knows that All-Clad is the brand you want in your kitchen when it comes to skillets and pots. Made in America and carrying a lifetime warranty, you’d probably see their wares in the kitchens of most of your favorite restaurants. One of their skillets is also the single most popular piece of cookware we’ve ever listed.

http://gear.lifehacker.com/bestsellers-al…

If you want to experience the quality for yourself, Amazon’s offering a multiple sets of their popular Master Chef tri-ply cookware, which feature a durable stainless steel cooking surface, an even and rapid-heating aluminum core, and a brushed aluminum bottom. You can take your pick of seven pieces for $255, or 10 pieces for $405. That’s still a lot to spend on a set of pots and pans, but they’ll last you your entire life if you take good care of them, and they’ll make cooking so much more enjoyable.

Note: Most All-Clad pans feature stainless steel bottoms, but these are brushed aluminum, meaning they will not work on induction burners.

Withings Bluetooth Blood Pressure Monitor, $74 for Prime members

If you’re keeping a close eye on your blood pressure, and want to track trends over time, this Bluetooth Withings monitor makes it as easy as opening an app on your smartphone.

Each time the monitor gets a reading from your upper arm, it’ll automatically transmit the data to your iPhone or Android device, and put it on a chart so you can track your trends. For a limited time, Prime members can grab it for $74, an all-time low.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H43WOAK/…

$40 cash back on house cleaning services

Take a look around your house: Odds are, it’s not as clean as it could be. Luckily, Amazon’s offering a pretty incredible deal on house cleaning, this week only.

All you have to do is book two or more hours of house cleaning through Amazon for $69.99 or more, and you’ll automatically get a $40 cash back within two business days. Unfortunately, Amazon isn’t set up with providers everywhere in the country, but if you live in a covered area, this is as good a deal as you’ll ever see on professional cleaning services.

Just note that you’ll have to complete the checkout process with the local provider by 10/20, and you’ll have to schedule service within 90 days.

Refurb GoPro Hero4 Silver, $234

The GoPro HERO5 looks like all that and a bag of chips, but if $400 is more than you can stomach for an action cam, the Hero4 Silver is a fantastic alternative for $234 refurbished.

http://gizmodo.com/gopro-hero4-bl…

http://gizmodo.com/the-gopro-hero…

While it can’t shoot 4K at 30fps, the Silver does include a built-in touchscreen like the new HERO5, and its 1080p footage remains stunning. And if you’re worried about buying a refurb, don’t be: This is direct from GoPro, meaning you get the same one year warranty that they include with brand new cameras.

Philips Sonicare Essence Toothbrush, $20 after $5 coupon

If you want to dip your toes into the world of electric toothbrushes, Philips’ entry level Sonicare Essence line is an amazing value at $20 (after clipping the $5 coupon). I’ve been using this brush for years, and I still love it.

We saw this deal last month, but if you missed out, it’s back in stock today.

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-Sonica…

$60 ThinkGeek Gift Card, $50

If you were planning on shopping at ThinkGeek for Halloween (or for any other day of the week) right now is the perfect time. Grab this $60 gift card for only $50 and stock up on everything during the retailer’s huge Great Fall Sale. 150+ items are marked down 30-60% off, which means that gift card will go far (and you’ll save $10).

Homitt 30 oz. Tumbler With Lid, Handle, and Two Straws, $15 with code WRJ78YWS

$15 is solid price for 30 ounce YETI-style tumbler by itself. But it’s a fantastic deal for one that includes stainless steel straws, a lid, and a detachable handle.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FXCSPD8/…

Refurb Motorola SB6183 Cable Modem, $50

Every modem rental fee you pay to your ISP is padding for their bottom line, and a total rip-off for you. Fortunately, you can buy your own modem for a relatively small upfront cost, and knock a few bucks off your monthly bill.

http://gizmodo.com/5948616/how-to…

There used to be a general consensus that Motorola’s SB6141 was the best modem for most cable internet subscribers, but the newer SB6183 is supports double the maximum download speeds (686mbps), which is important for future-proofing purposes, if nothing else. If you don’t mind buying a refurb, $50 is the best price we’ve ever seen.

Nordstrom Rack TUMI sale

Normally, TUMI luggage will run you into the $500s and even more. But with Nordstrom Rack’s sale, you can get your own TUMI carry on, backpack, messenger bag, and luggage for hundreds off list price. I’m not talking a couple hundred, here. You could stand to save almost $400 on certain styles. 

Timbuk2 Commute and Command Bags, 30% off with code KINJA30, free shipping, expires 10/21, excludes these colors: colors Nautical/Adobe, Currant, and Gunmetal/Adobe.

Timbuk2's Commute and Command lines of messengers bags were voted your favorite in the category by a significant margin. This week you can get them for 30% cheaper, as well as their backpack variants with code KINJA30.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-lapt…

The headline feature on Timbuk2's Command Backpacks is their TSA-compliant laptop and tablet access, because any reduction of a pain point of air travel is always welcome. Lined pockets can be used to safely store your smartphone or sunglasses, and air mesh padding mitigates your rage sweating as you make your way through security.

Many of those same great features come to the messenger bags, along with additions like side-entry pockets for easy access, luggage passthrough straps, and of course a plethora of internal organization options.

20% off Mars Candy | 25% off Hersey Candy

We’ve posted a few deals on Halloween candy over the last few weeks, but if you’ve held out so far, or already ate all the candy you promised to save for trick or treaters, you can take 20% off various Mars candies, or 25% off Hershey products today, courtesy of Amazon.

Note: Listed prices don’t include the discount; you’ll see the final total at checkout.

Catan 5th Edition, $32

Settlers of Catan is one of those games that everyone should have on their shelves, and Amazon’s marked it down to $32 today. That’s within a few cents of the lowest price Amazon’s ever listed. Unfortunately, they won’t trade it to you for two wheats; I asked.

https://www.amazon.com/MFG-3071-Catan…

PS4 Original Console, $240

The recent release of the PS4 Slim has created the first real wave of actual PS4 discounts we’ve ever seen, as long as you don’t mind buying the larger, but otherwise mostly identical, original model. This particular listing doesn’t include any games, but $240 is the best get-in-the-door price we’ve ever seen on the PS4.

Xbox Live Gold, $40

Xbox Live Gold discounts don’t come around as often as they used to, so if your membership is due to expire in the near future, grab another year for $40 on eBay today.

Sugru Moldable Glue - Pack of 8, $11

Sugru is right up there with binder clips and the Raspberry Pi in Lifehacker’s pantheon of must-have gear, and you can stock up today with eight multicolor packs from Amazon for just $11, or eight white packs for $10, the best prices we’ve ever seen on the stuff.

https://www.amazon.com/Sugru-Moldable…

https://www.amazon.com/Sugru-Moldable…

Inateck 1' USB-A to USB-C Cable, $4 with code A4VCUQWE | 3' Cable, $5 with code 3QLDWHAU

Someday in the not-too-distant future, Every USB port will be USB-C. But until that day arrives, owners of USB-C powered devices will want to keep a cache of USB-A to C cables handy to pull a charge off of legacy chargers. Today on Amazon, Inateck will sell you a 1' cable for $4, or a 3.3' cable for $5. Just note the promo codes below.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I4LTDZY?…

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01…

X-Chef French Press, $18 with code 4GM7CWF

French press is your favorite way to make coffee, and it’ll be an even more aesthetically pleasing process with this 100% stainless steel press for just $18.

http://lifehacker.com/most-popular-c…

We’ve seen less expensive french presses before, but if you prefer this model’s shiny and simple design, $18 ought to perk you up.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012FRA8UC?…

Anova 900W Wi-Fi Precision Cooker, $170 | Anova 800W Bluetooth Precision Cooker, $129

Ready to experience meat in a whole new way? You can pick up the newest Wi-Fi version of Anova’s top-selling Sous Vide immersion circulator for $169, or the older Bluetooth model for $129. Note that the Wi-Fi model is the newer 900W model, rather than the old 800W version.

http://gear.lifehacker.com/bestsellers-an…

Lifehacker has a great explainer on Sous-Vide cooking for you to check out, but the basic idea is that you seal the food in plastic bags, and then cook it in precisely heated water over a longer period of time. It sounds weird, but trust me when I say that it works like magic.

http://lifehacker.com/5868685/sous-v…

Every time we post this, we get some snark about the Wi-Fi connectivity, so just know that it’s optional. If you connect your phone, you can find a recipe via Anova’s app, and automatically program the cooker with one tap, but you certainly don’t need to use it.

https://www.amazon.com/New-Anova-Prec…

https://www.amazon.com/Anova-Culinary…

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The New Assassin's Creed Movie Trailer Still Doesn't Understand Why People Like Assassin's Creed

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 06:46

It looks like Michael Fassbender’s main character in the upcoming video game adaptation is some kind of hardcore criminal locked up in a corporate superjail. You sure training him to kill people with his ancestor’s ancient assassin skills is a good idea, guys?

The newest teaser for the Assassin’s Creed movie shows off more of the film’s ensemble and the high-tech Abstergo penitentiary/research lab that apparently holds people against their will. The glimpses at present-day stuff are nice, but the big appeal of Assassin’s Creed is that the games are historical period pieces. Historical period pieces where you run around neck-stabbing people, yes, but historical period pieces nonetheless.

This new trailer has a bit more footage of Fassbender running around in the Spanish Inquisition, but it also has much more footage of the present, which seems to be where all the story lies; the bits in the past seem to be solely about running, jumping, and killing people. It still makes us worry that the overwhelming majority of the Assassin’s Creed movie is going to take place in the present, which, again, is not what people enjoy the franchise for. Unless Fox is planning on showing that stuff when we least expect it...

The Google Pixel Is Too Dumb and Ugly to Replace Your iPhone

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 06:00
Image:Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

The Pixel is the first Google phone built from top to bottom, and the company thinks it’s finally made the Android device that can conquer the iPhone. It’s a valiant effort, but is it enough?

On previous Nexus-branded devices, Google contributed Android software and let manufacturers like LG, HTC, Samsung, and Huawei build the phones. With this device, we have the “Most Google” phone ever, which is more deeply connected to the company’s services. But despite some big ideas, like Google Assistant, and great camera and processor guts, the Pixel falls short of Google’s ambition to make an iPhone-killer.

As a lifelong Android user, I couldn’t wait to try the Pixel. It’s different than other Android phones, because it’s the first handset centered around the company’s artificial intelligence—the same omnipotent intelligence that’s vacuuming up information about you every time you use a service like Gmail, Google Maps, or Google Calendar. The “Google brain” learns your habits over time, and can help you find important information faster. The problem is that Google’s AI is too stupid to be meaningfully helpful at this stage.

Image: Screenshot

The most obvious place you can see this shortcoming is in Google Assistant, the company’s artificially intelligent competitor to Siri. When you long-press the home button on the Pixel or say “OK Google,” it launches a digital helper that can answer questions and run basic tasks. Out of the box, Google Assistant can do things like set alarms, play music, relay sports scores or weather, translate words, and find nearby restaurants.

Google promises Assistant will anticipate your every need, pulling information from email, calendars, and a longview understanding of habits. But in practice, I found Google Assistant to be underwhelming. I took it out on a Friday night thinking it would help me plan a date, and found the results disappointing. I asked Assistant “What’s a good date spot near [bar I was going to].” It served me links to the bar rather than suggesting places nearby. When I asked, “What’s a good date spot near [the address],” Assistant still failed. It showed me a random website from search rather than a map of places I could go.

I was particularly disappointed with Google Assistant because it’s such a promising concept. Google is moving attention away from the search bar more than ever. Instead, the company wants you to “Google” by using the messaging app Allo or voice search in Google Assistant. Ultimately, the Pixel and Pixel XL are gateways for feeding the Google brain more information about yourself. As Google’s AI gets smarter, the Assistant will become more helpful. While some people might find this creepy, I think the idea is exciting, and it’s a letdown that the tech isn’t there yet. In fairness nobody has it, and Google’s is better than what’s offered by competitors like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. The point is that as a whole, smartphone assistants aren’t smart enough to be defining features. They’re gimmicks, and Google unwisely decided to build a phone around one.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

That brings us to some of the more classic smartphone features. The Pixel has all the things you’d expect from a high-end phone, including two different versions, the 5-inch Pixel and the 5.5-inch Pixel XL. The phones have different batteries (2770 mAh vs 3450 mAh), screens (5-inch vs 5.5 inch), and resolution (1920 x 1080 vs 2560 x 1440), and they start at different prices ($650 vs $770). Otherwise the devices are virtually identical, down to the fingerprint sensor on the back.

For my review, I spent a week with the larger Pixel XL. In terms of basic performance, the device delivers what you would expect from a premium gadget. It’s got solid battery life that lasts over a day, a beautiful display, and snappy performance.

It’s also worth noting that the Pixel’s software makes it especially intuitive to use for an Android phone. For example, you can launch straight into an action by long-pressing any Google app. Quick tasks, like taking a selfie, can be launched from the home screen by holding down on the app you want to use. (This is, in part, Google’s answer to Apple’s 3D Touch.) Google says third-parties like LinkedIn and Evernote are already adding shortcuts, so we can expect more of this in the future.

Image:Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

The Pixel comes equipped with a ridiculous camera that scored a high rating from benchmarkers DxOMark. Google has really harped on this feature, and based on our naked-eye assessment, the Pixel lives up to most of that hype. Every shot is accurately colored, super sharp compared to other Android phones, and vibrant as hell.

It still leaves you wanting more compared to the iPhone 7. The Pixel’s photos appeared to be washed out and just weren’t as vibrant as the ones we took with the new iPhone. I can’t imagine that making much difference if you’re just uploading photos for fun.

These photos were taken mid-day just seconds apart.

When HDR is on, the image processing lags a bit, but the phone is so fast, it’s hardly noticeable. There’s also a great “smart burst” feature that fires the shutter button at about 10 frames per second, giving you a nice slow-motion reel you can make a gif or choose a single frame from. It also makes getting the perfect photo from an action shot much easier. This is all nice, but not groundbreaking. The iPhone does the exact same thing.

Image:Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

The Pixel is an ugly phone. The design is a little fatter than last year’s Nexus 6P, and the bezel on the bottom lip of the phone is much bigger. Yuck. There’s also a big slab of glass at the top of the phone’s back that feels sticky and a little uncomfortable to hold. The design is nowhere near as sleek, clean, and easy to use as the iPhone 7.

These are all weirdly regressive design choices, but the most regressive is that the phone isn’t water resistant. Even the iPhone is water resistant now, and Apple is notoriously behind on features like that. Your Google Pixel is always one clumsy move away from drowning in the toilet.

Image: Screenshot

If you’re going to spend $650 on a phone, you want it to look great and last at least two years. This phone was different enough to catch the eye of my local barber and barista, both of whom asked if it was the “new iPhone.” I told them it wasn’t. They asked if it was good, and therein lies the big question. Would I recommend this phone to the average person? The short answer is “no.”

Take it from someone who has only ever owned an Android: The Pixel is not a major step forward for the platform. The great thing about Google’s old reference design phones, like the Nexus 6P, was that you’d get a premium phone for under $500. At $650, the Pixel is as expensive as most flagships for no good reason.

Google Assistant is basically just a glorified version of Google Now from last year’s phone, and there’s no way it’s worth the extra few hundred dollars. I’m confident that Google’s artificial intelligence will some day be enough to justify the costly price of a premium Android phone, but right now, it’s just not helpful enough.

If you’re like me, and have avoided the iPhone all these years, it’s time to give in. The iPhone is definitively better this year. The current roster of flagship Android phones are a complete joke. The Galaxy S7 at least looks nice, but it’s already more than six months old. If you must buy an Android phone, the Pixel makes a strong case. But I can no longer heartily endorse buying an Android, because if this is the best phone available, it’s time to move on.

README
  • The first truly homegrown Google phone
  • The Pixel XL is somehow chunkier than last year’s Nexus 6P
  • Holy crap, this phone is super fast
  • Smart burst photo mode is great for capturing the perfect moment
  • Google Assistant is a promising feature, but ultimately not full baked
  • The plastic on the back of the phone feels sticky and kind of gross to hold in your hand
  • How is this better than my Nexus 6P again?

Charge All of the Things With These Anker Discounts

Tue, 10/18/2016 - 05:49

It’s no secret that Anker makes some of your favorite charging gear, and this week, you can save a few bucks on the company’s fast-charging Qi pad, plus a variety of USB charging hubs.

http://gear.lifehacker.com/your-favorite-…

All of the deals are listed below, just be sure to note the promo codes.

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More Deals

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Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter. We want your feedback.