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PlayStation 4 receiving 7.00 update this week with rebuilt Party feature
by Paul Hill
Sony has announced that it will be releasing the 7.00 software update for PlayStation 4 this week to consoles all around the world. The new update includes a rebuilt Party feature that offers new capabilities and support for more members. Additionally, Remote Play has been updated with enhancements on iOS, Android, and Mac.
The first big change in this update is the rebuilt Party feature. With the update, Party now supports a maximum of 16 members instead of 8, network connectivity has been improved, audio quality is better, and for those in the United States, accessibility support with Chat Transcription has been added.
Commenting on Chat Transcription, Sid Shuman, Senior Director, Content Communications at Sony said:
Regarding Remote Play, the feature can now be used on phones and tablets running Android 5.0 and higher. As for the iOS app, users can now display the controller at all times and lock the screen orientation. Sony said that Remote Play on Android, iOS, and Mac now supports DualShock 4 wireless controllers via Bluetooth with the latest update; however, you’ll need to be on Android 10, iOS 13, iPadOS 13, or macOS Catalina to use that feature.
GOG celebrates 11 years with a sale, brings XIII back to its catalogue
by Florin Bodnarescu
A year ago, DRM-free gaming storefront GOG celebrated a decade of being in business with a redesign of the store, plus a poll that let folks choose which freebie would be available to claim - Shadow Warrior 2 ended up winning. Now, for its "round-plus-one anniversary", GOG is hosting the usual sale, as well as bringing back a couple of things that were discontinued.
Of the things brought back, arguably the biggest one is the return of the classic version of XIII, the 2003 FPS developed by Ubisoft Paris and loosely based on the first five novels of the namesake 1984 Belgian graphic novel series. Its comic book style visuals - not to dissimilar in look to Max Payne's cutscenes, albeit more colourful - are complemented by the voice work of David Duchovny (of X-Files fame) and Adam West. You can get it for $6.63 here.
The game was initially removed from GOG's catalogue in late 2012, most likely due to licensing issues, but the retailer has worked with French publisher and distributor Anuman Interactive to return XIII's classic variant to the DRM-free store. It's worth noting that a "faithful remaster" is planned to land on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch sometime next year.
Joining XIII are four new to catalogue, community requested games. First up is retro FPS DUSK, which you can get for 25% off during the celebratory sale, and which comes with an exclusive THE GOGATORIUM map for its endless mode. Then there's adventure platformer Chasm (35% off), as well as a double helping of Mars-themed RPGs: Mars: War Logs (75% off), and The Technomancer (65% off).
This anniversary also sees the return of Staff Picks, which are curated lists of favorite or recently played titles from the team behind the CD Projekt-owned storefront. You can find the relevant curated list here. Discounted titles include The Mystery of the Druids (75% off), Pathfinder: Kingmaker (75% off), and more, with discounts of up to 80%.
Keep in mind that the discounts for the newly added titles are available until October 10 at 1PM UTC (6AM PT, 9AM ET), and those for the Staff Picks are valid until October 7 at 1PM UTC.
Ubisoft celebrates 20 years of Anno, gives 1602 away and announces beta of 1800
by Florin Bodnarescu
Anno, a series which blends real-time strategy and city building, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, Ubisoft is giving away a free copy of the game that started it all.
Anno 1602: Creation of a New World was released in Germany in April of 1998, followed by the rest of the European territories in September of that same year. On February 1, 2000, the title debuted in North America.
The brainchild of Austrian company Max Design, Anno put the emphasis - and still does - on rather difficult business simulation (in this case a balance of resource management and city construction), which may scare some folks away. Nonetheless, the first title sold around two million copies, making it the best selling Austrian title at the time. Both it and its sequel, 1503: The New World, were published in Europe by Sunflowers Interactive, which later acquired all the rights to the franchise.
Sunflowers and Related Designs were responsible for the next entry in the series, 2006's Anno 1701. The latter, in collaboration with Blue Byte, created Anno 1404 and Anno 2070. While Blue Byte - maker of the Settlers series - was acquired by Ubisoft in 2001, Related Designs didn't become part of the French publisher's roster until 2007, then being merged into Blue Byte in 2014. This is why the two latest titles, Anno 2205 and the upcoming Anno 1800 have Blue Byte listed as the developer.
As a quirk of naming, adding up the numbers in the title of an Anno game always equals 9. It's a little detail that seemingly won't go away anytime soon.
And now that the history bit is out of the way, you can head over to this link to claim your free copy of Anno 1602: Creation of a New World, or alternatively just fire up your Uplay client and the giveaway should be front and center. The announcement post has the giveaway ending on December 22, while the Uplay promo states it ends December 23 at 1am UTC (that's 8pm ET or 5pm PT in the States).
As mentioned before, a new installment, Anno 1800 is set to arrive next year on February 26, so Ubisoft has also announced a closed beta which will kick off on January 31. To check out the requirements for signing up to the beta head over here.
In addition to all of the above, as a celebration of the two decade anniversary, there will be an AnnoAfternoon stream on Twitch on December 20. Starting at 4pm CET - 10am ET / 7am PT in the U.S. -, this will be a "trip down to memory lane with the one legendary game that started it all: Anno 1602". There's also a surprise teased for Friday, but of course, we'll have to wait until then to find out what it is.
While you're collecting free games, might as well add Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion too, since it's free on Steam.
Fedora Project marks 15th anniversary of Fedora Core 1
by Paul Hill
Image via Fedora Magazine The Fedora Project is celebrating 15 years since it released Fedora Core 1, the start of a very popular Linux distribution. As a present to the community, a virtual disk image of Fedora Core 1 has been compiled for users to try out in GNOME Boxes – virtualisation software that comes bundled with Fedora Workstation by default.
The Fedora Linux Project was initially established by a community of Red Hat Linux users with the aim of packaging software that was not a part of the core Red Hat Linux product. Just a few months after launching the Fedora.us homepage it was announced that Red Hat Linux Project was merging with Fedora Linux Project to create the Fedora Project. Explaining what happened next, Fedora user Link Dupont, said:
Fedora Core 1 which launched 15 years ago, today, introducing several packages that are familiar to a lot of Linux users, including dbus, epiphany, nano, rhythmbox, and yum. The then-new distribution shipped with GNOME 2.4 which was released in September 2003.
Fedora Core 1 shipped with Mozilla Suite as the default browser because the browser maker, Mozilla, was still to release Firefox as a stand-alone browser at the time. It also shipped with OpenOffice.org, Evolution, gAIM (now known as Pidgin), and X-Chat (an IRC client that’s still in use today).
On the hardware front, Fedora Core 1 was optimised for Pentium PRO CPUs but support other Pentium-class CPUs. A 400 MHz Pentium II was recommended for a graphical install while a 200 MHz Pentium-class or better could handle text-mode. In terms of memory, it was recommended to use 256 MB for a graphical install but 192 MB was also acceptable. Text-mode could be used with just 64 MB. It was also recommended that you have 2.4 GB storage for a Workstation installation and just 1.9 GB for the ‘Personal Desktop’.
If you grabbed a copy of Fedora 29 the other day or have a machine with GNOME Boxes installed and want to try out this legacy release of Fedora, be sure to grab the pre-compiled virtual image.
Neowin turns 18 with a big investment in site infrastructure. We're on the move again! [Update]
by Dave Legg
Data Center Servers via Shutterstock Today marks Neowin's 18th Birthday. Over our history, we've had a number of homes, from the nomadic early days where we bounced between sponsored hosts, to settling at The Planet for a while, until an over-zealous response to a DMCA request left us homeless, and then being taken in by Stardock, and sharing some space in amongst their servers. In 2014 we migrated into the cloud, and set up home on Amazon's AWS platform, and that's where we live today. We currently use four EC2 virtual machines to run the website - one database VM, and three web server VMs. We also have a fifth VM we use for development.
Moving into our 18th year, we've taken a look at our current setup, and decided to make a substantial investment in our infrastructure to give us greater control, flexibility and enable an improved development process. To that end, we have purchased three brand new Dell servers, along with switches and routers to connect ourselves to the internet.
Firstly, we have a Poweredge R740, with two Xeon Gold processors, plenty of memory, and SSD storage. This server will primarily be tasked with running the database and caching servers (MariaDB and Redis).
The other two servers are Poweredge R440's, again with two Xeon Gold processors and plenty of memory. These will primarily be running PHP and nginx (and a little bit of NodeJS for MiniSpy) to serve up the website. Development servers and other internal tools will be spread across the three machines as resource requirements and availability allow.
Physically, the servers will be located in the UK in a tier 3+ datacenter, not far from London. The datacenter has full 2N redundancy across power, networking and cooling.
Over the next few weeks, we will be performing various bits of maintenance on the site to prepare for the move, and so you may experience short periods of downtime when you try to access the site. Don't panic, it's all part of the plan!
Follow our forum thread for updates on the progress of preparations, and look out for our announcement of the switch-over date, once everything is in place. Feel free to ask us questions about the new setup in the comments below, and we'll try to answer what we can.
Update: The new servers are in place, and in sync with our existing setup at AWS. We will be making the switch over at around 1pm BST. The switch over will simply be a DNS update, and should only take a minute or two to take effect. That said, some DNS servers cache records for longer than they're asked to. If you continue to see our maintenance page for more than a few minutes, it might be worth flushing your DNS cache, and considering switching away from your ISP's DNS servers to either OpenDNS, Google or CloudFlare's public offerings. Finally, if for whatever reason you have manually added entries for Neowin into your hosts file, now is the time to remove them.
After the switch, everything should be working as normal, but if you come across any new issues with anything on the site, please let us know in the Site & Forum Issues forum.
Update 2: If you can read this, you're successfully accessing the site on the new servers!