‘No Man’s Sky’ Being Challenged for False Advertising

No Man’s Sky was looking to be one of the most revolutionary games in decades. We were supposed to be able to explore a virtually limitless galaxy of worlds. It was Space, the Final Frontier, and we could have it in our livingrooms and our computers. Unfortunately, the game has not lived up to the hype, and there is so large a gap between reality and advertising that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – an independent regulator whose role it is to  “regulate the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in the UK [by investigating] complaints made about ads, sales promotions or direct marketing”—is now turning a critical eye to the game’s seemingly misleading promotional material.

Frustrated with the disparity between the game’s trailers, screenshots and “general information” used to advertise No Man’s Sky on its Steam page and what actually features in-game, Reddit user AzzerUK issued a formal complaint to the ASA, using the terms “misleading and misrepresenting”.

No Man's Sky“I can’t speak about other countries, but in the UK [there] are regulations about providing advertising material that could mislead a consumer in some way—[for example] displaying things that do not, in fact, exist,” says AzzerUK. “The ASA say they have received a number of complaints, and so the points below are not necessarily all related to things I personally took issue with, but are the issues they have picked out at the most clear-cut problems from amongst all complaints.

“In the ASA response, they say that both Hello Games and Valve have a joint responsibility, and so both organisations have now been contacted by the ASA and have been told to respond to the following issues which the ASA picked out as the primary issues (compiled from a number of complainants that contacted the ASA).”

AzzerUK points out a long list of details, which you can read here, but the list highlights UI design, large-scale combat, flowing water, size of creatures, behavior of ships and sentinels, and aiming systems, among other perceived discrepancies.

The ASA isn’t a legislative organization, but it does  have the power to have advertisements which breach its code of advertising practice removed. This, of course, means those ads can’t be used again. This process has now been put in motion, and, should the ASA deem any of the promotional material to fall foul of said codes of conduct, Valve and Hello Games will be required to respond. Sanctions could follow if offending material is not removed.

A section of the ASA’s reply to AzzerUK reads as follows:

“We will ensure the advertisers are made aware of any points relating to other marketing material under their control (such as the Hello Games YouTube channel and website).

“The outcomes of ASA investigations are cross-applicable to other marketing making the same claims, so any decision reached in relation to the Steam page would apply to other advertising for No Man’s Sky where the same (or materially similar) claims appear.”

Speaking to Eurogamer, AzzerUK also notes feeling “personally misled” and while not necessarily harbouring ill-will towards Hello Games and/or Steam, felt obliged to contact the ASA “after seeing just how vastly different the trailers for No Man’s Sky were from the actual released game”.

The investigation is ongoing, however we’ll update as and when we know more. This latest twist in the No Man’s Sky tale trails Sony president Shuhei Yoshida declaring Sean Murray “sounded like he was promising more features” than he could deliver, at this month’s Tokyo Game Show. Hello Games is issuing patches, but they’re not fixing the core objections, lack of depth of the player experience being one of the big ones. Players quickly found that although there are billions of worlds, once you’ve visited a few dozen of them, you’ve seen pretty much everything the game has to offer.

How will Hello Games ride out this controversy, and what will ultimately happen to No Man’s Sky? 

Watch this space.

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1st Look: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Final Trailer

This is the last new trailer we’re going to see for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Time is short – the film releases November 18.

Newt Scamander is in a great deal of trouble. He came to New York with a rather large number of magical beasts in his charmed luggage, and a great many of them have gotten loose. Unfortunately a no-maj (a nonmagical person, “no-maj” in American magical society slang is equivalent to the term “muggle” in Europe) was witness to it – or party to it – and Scamander needs his help to get them all back.  The no-maj in question is Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Fogler.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was the genesis of Fantastic Beasts.  One of Harry Potter’s textbooks from his time at Hogwarts School of Magic and Witchcraft was called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, ostensibly written by Newt Scamander. It was then published as a hardbound edition for us muggles to purchase, and now it’s a fully realized motion picture. Fantastic Beasts boasts a screenplay by J.K. Rowling herself, stars Eddie Redmayne and is scheduled for release on November 18, 2016 in the United States.

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Video of the Day: ‘The Adventures of Indiana Jones’

Waiting for fun things is hard, no matter what age you are, but today’s Video of the Day was worth the wait. Aim your squinties at The Adventures of Indiana Jones, a short film by Artist Patrick Schoenmaker has spent the last five years creating an animated Indiana Jones movie. It’s finally been released.

“Movie” can mean a lot of things, and in this case it means a short subject. The Adventures of Indiana Jones is all of a minute and 40 seconds long. All produced by a single person, the little film demonstrates how much one man with a vision can produce all by himself, and for all its brevity, it’s a thing of beauty.

It all began around the time of the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when Schoenmaker was commissioned by Lucasfilm and ACME Archives to create a print envisioning Indiana Jones as an animated cartoon. And while Lucasfilm had no interest in seeing a cartoon version of Indy, Patrick’s imagination had been irretrievably ignited. He just couldn’t stop thinking what a film like this would look like, and started doing character and scenic designs. You can see here from this sampling of the production art just how much work went into creating this exciting little movie:

The production art Schoenmaker did suggested that the film retold only one of the Indiana Jones stories, but as you’ll see, that wasn’t quite true. Instead, Schoenmaker captures the spirit of the mythic adventurer, using action and motion to carry the leading man across the boundaries of time and space from one scene to the next. Scene by scene, it’s full on Indiana, but rather than tell a story, it’s a series of perfect little vignettes, which our hero somehow manages to survive.

If Lucasfilm is reading this, please consider hiring Schoenmaker to produce and direct an Indiana Jones full length animated feature film. This proof of concept shows just how sweet it could really be.

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1st Look: ‘Rogue One’ Final Trailer

UPDATE: We got punked. This is not an official trailer. It’s cobbled together from bits and pieces of other trailers. It’s still a pretty awesome edit, but sometimes even we get deceived by fan created videos.

The real final trailer comes out when Doctor Strange comes out in November.

This is the story of how those plans for the Deathstar happened to come into Princess Leia Organa’s possession, and the impossible odds the Rebellion had to face to get them.

The real final trailer will be released to play along side Doctor Strange in the theaters, starting on November 4.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stars  Ben Mendelsohn,  Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed, and makes its theatrical debut on December 16, 2016.

Watch this space.

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Solar Roadways to Illuminate Idaho Town

The northern Idaho city of Sandpoint will unveil the world’s first look at an entirely solar roadway on September 30, 2016. The ceremony will take place in Sandpoint’s town square, where a 150-foot proof of concept of the solar panel road will be available for public demonstration. It will generate power for a nearby restroom and fountain. Possibly in the future, Sandpoint could replace its streets with the solar panel roads, and they would power the entire town.

The solar panel road is developed by Solar Roadways, an Idaho-based company. Their goal with this project is to “generate clean renewable energy on roadways and any other surface that can be walked or driven upon.” Another part of their goal is reduce dependence on petroleum.

Macro-textures and micro-textures on the surface above the solar panels, have been developed to hold up against use by cars and even semis. They apparently can also help slow down a car that is speeding over 80 miles an hour, even on a wet surface.

Thousands of LED lights in the panels will replace painted traffic lines, and can even light up warning messages to drivers. During the winter, the developers claim the solar panels will still produce energy, and that heating elements could reduce ice and snow. Solar Roadways has stated that they eventually want to have solar-powered parking lots, sidewalks and eventually have every paved street, country road, highway and interstate replaced.

The project started in 2010, in a garage belonging to a friend of Solar Roadways’ co-founder Scott Brusaw. Eventually, it caught the attention of the United States Department of Transportation, who granted Brusaw a $100k research grant. In 2014, Brusaw was invited to the White House’s first ever Maker Faire. Later that year, Solar Roadways hosted an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that reached over $2 million, the biggest so far. Donors were from every state and all around the world.

There is criticism of Brusaw’s plan to implement solar panels in every road across the United States. Jonathan Levine, a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan, has pointed out the project would have to overcome the “fragmented network of local, state, and federal governments that all have their say in how and where new road technologies will be implemented.”

Others have estimated the cost of implementation would be around $56 trillion, or have pointed out that while the glass on the solar panels can withstand heavy weight, they wonder aloud if they could hold up against impact, chemical spills and fire. Another worry is if the glass breaks and punctures a tire, or hurts a person. Glass can also get extremely dirty, and while Solar Roadways have suggested the glass will be self-cleaning, experts say that self-cleaning materials tend to be slippery. Finally, some have noted that the cost of repairing such advanced technology might also be astronomical.

As stated previously, Solar Roadways will premiere their solar-powered street panel to the world. Time will only tell if everyone else will want to follow them down this untested road.

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