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Microsoft Weekly: Edge Beta for Linux, a new Segoe font, and games galore
by Florin Bodnarescu
A number of things happened in the last seven days, including the arrival of Edge Beta on Linux, the unveiling of a new Segoe font variant, and even a refresh of the Azure logo. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of May 2 - 8.
Edge Beta for Linux
We should begin with a little info regarding Edge, as not much has happened with the browser this week.
For starters, build 92.0.878.0 made its way to the Dev Channel. While this would normally be pretty exciting, Microsoft says the build doesn’t change much, given that it came out just a few days after the previous build. The changes are so minor that the company didn’t even bother publishing its usual post about it.
Moving on to the stable version, namely version 90, folks may be experiencing problems with YouTube playback, namely crashing. This bug has been acknowledged by a Microsoft engineer, who suggested users disable hardware acceleration as a workaround. The same engineer confirmed that the company is working on a fix, but that the issue may be more significant than initially thought.
And since we’re taking a tour through the various Insider channels, it’s worth pointing out that over six months after the Dev channel availability of Edge for Linux, there is now a Beta variant for the open-source OS.
Lastly, Microsoft is now testing everse image search in the Bing sidebar. This does pretty much exactly what it sounds like it would, namely allows you to right-click on an image and search for it on Bing in the sidebar which appears on the right of the Edge browser. As per Reddit user Leopeva64-2 who stumbled upon this, the capability is available in Edge Dev, though we have not seen this on any of our test devices.
A new font
For Insiders in the Dev channel, Microsoft pushed out yet another preview build, 21376, which included the usual array of fixes and, rather interestingly a new Segoe font variant.
While Segoe UI itself has been used as a default system font going all the way back to Windows Vista, a number of variants have been revealed since, including Segoe Script, Segoe Pro, and what Microsoft used for its Modern design icons, Segoe MDL2 Assets.
The new font is called Segoe UI Variable and as the name implies, it’s meant to vary slightly depending on the use case. Segoe UI itself for example was originally designed to be optimal at 9pt sizes, while Segoe UI Variable tweaks the letter weight and tracking depending on the size.
For smaller text, the letters are more tightly tracked, have more weight and are more open, while at display size, text isn’t quite as tightly tracked and has amplified letter terminals. For those not familiar, tracking refers to the overall horizontal spacing between font characters. This is not to be confused with kerning, which refers to the proportional spacing between two individual letters, whereas tracking refers to, say, an entire word.
On the subject of change, we should touch on the fact that Microsoft is set to fully remove Flash from Windows 10 in July. While support for Flash was dropped by Adobe on December 31, 2020, and Microsoft released a manual update to remove it back in October of the same year, it was, as the name implies, not necessarily mandatory. Starting in July, the Redmond giant is set to push out the update to Windows 10 v1809 and above, automagically removing the media plugin.
To that end, the firm is also removing any update blocks for versions 2004 and 20H2 (May 2020 Update, October 2020 Update), allowing folks to freely upgrade to these supported variants. We’re on the verge of a new feature update anyway, so it’s not much of a surprise that Microsoft wants folks on the latest Windows 10 version, if possible.
Last but not least, to the dismay of perhaps three people, Windows 10X is allegedly delayed indefinitely, as Microsoft focuses on Windows 10 proper.
Since its original unveil at the end of 2019 with the dual-screen Surface Neo and Duo, the former device was delayed out of its Holiday 2020 release window, and Windows 10X was repurposed for single-screen devices - in stark contrast to its initial 'dual-screen devices first' approach. For now, it seems that the Redmond firm is putting 10X on the backburner, focusing its resources on the expected Sun Valley UI refresh coming to Windows 10 later this year.
In a rather surprising announcement, Microsoft decided to take the wraps off a sizeable selection of titles now supporting FPS Boost. More than quadrupling the number of supported games from 23 to 97, the latest additions include Dying Light, a number of LEGO games, ReCore, and more, with supported framerates from 60 to 120FPS.
There are good news on the Game Pass front as well, with FIFA 21, Red Dead Online, Psychonauts, Outlast 2 and many others either already available or joining the subscription very soon. Additionally, folks in the U.S. also get four months of Spotify Premium with Game Pass Ultimate, though this is available for new users only.
On the revenue share front, Microsoft dropped its cut from 30% to 12% on PC, and was planning to do the same on console, but it will no longer do so. An interesting tidbit about the company’s strategy relates to exactly why it lowered its split. As per the court documents filed in January, this is done “in exchange for the grant of streaming rights to Microsoft.”, in other words, xCloud. It’s not exactly clear whether the proposal was far enough along to even be discussed with console publishers, but for the time being, the revenue split on Xbox remains 30/70.
If you don’t think that’s such a great deal, maybe some of the Deals with Gold will pique your interest, like the discounts for Borderlands 3, Control, PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition, and others.
However, if you have no desire to buy more games and already own the latest iteration of Flight Simulator or the spin-off title Minecraft Dungeons, it’s worth checking for updates, as both first-party games have received a number of enhancements and fixes.
The latest monthly Office Insider build on the Mac has added the ‘Share to Teams’ capability in Outlook, and more. Microsoft has announced its automation tool for security testing AI systems, dubbed Counterfit. Live transcriptions will soon be added for unscheduled and channel meetings in Teams. Microsoft has announced Reading Progress for Teams for education. Whiteboard now has improved Teams integration, support for rich content like images and stickers, and more. The Redmond giant has detailed more education features coming through August. Excel on the web now supports Power BI-connected PivotTables. Microsoft has delivered oxygen, ventilators, and more to support India’s COVID-19 response. New customization options are now available for Reply-all Storm Protection in Microsoft 365. Microsoft customers in the EU will be able to store all their data in the region by 2022. The Redmond firm has warned of a widespread gift card scam targeting organizations. Logging off
We end the week with a refreshed Azure logo, an interesting Defender bug, and some Surface firmware updates.
Starting with Azure, Microsoft has decided that the logo for its cloud service needed a bit of a Fluent Design facelift, and as such unveiled a brand-new icon. Ditching the angular shape of the old logo, this one is much more reminiscent of say, the Visual Studio icon, though in some cases, it may remind folks of the Adobe or Autodesk logos.
On the flip side, what wasn’t needed was a rather weird Microsoft Defender bug, which ended up creating “thousands” of files in users' boot drives. Some folks saw small files less than 2KB in size, while other users reported multiple GBs of storage being eaten up. A fix is already rolling out, and if you’re on Microsoft Defender engine version 1.1.18100.5, you’ll be bumped up to 1.1.18100.6 following this update.
Finally, for owners of the Surface Pro 4, Studio, Laptop 1,2, and 4, Microsoft has released a slew of firmware updates meant to bring stability and security enhancements.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
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Weekend PC Game Deals: Another Choice to make and Devolver hits to grab
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Weekend PC Game Deals is where the hottest gaming deals from all over the internet are gathered into one place, every week, for your consumption. So kick back, relax, and hold on to your wallets.
This week, the May Humble Choice games rolled in offering you a new batch of games to select from. The 12 games up for grabs this month can be seen below, along with links to their Steam store pages for more information:
Metro Exodus Darksiders Genesis Hellpoint Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 Levelhead Fury Unleashed Size Matters Morkredd Relicta Family Man Retimed Vane If you have a ray-tracing capable GPU, keep in mind that Metro Exodus now has an enhanced edition with overhauled visuals. Since this is a free update, you will also gain access to it along with the base game that's available in this bundle.
Opting to pick up three of the aforementioned titles will set you back $14.99 as part of the Humble Choice Basic tier while picking nine games will cost $19.99. Adding to that, those still with active legacy Humble Monthly subscriptions can grab 10 games for $12.99 instead.
This specific selection of games will be available on the Choice subscription until June 1. It also offers members access to the Humble Trove of DRM-free games as well as a bonus 20% discount on items sold on the Humble Store.
Epic is back to dealing out free games this week. Coming in this time is a copy of Pine, which is replacing the premium content pack for the free-to-play title Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms from the previous promotion.
Pine is an indie adventure game set in a simulated world where its various tribes and NPCs carry on with their duties even without the player's intervention. The objective is to eventually find a suitable location for a human settlement in this world where humans aren't at the top of the food chain.
Following Pine's stay on the freebie slot, Epic is preparing to put up a copy of The Lion's Song complete edition to claim for free starting on May 13.
A couple of veteran indie games populate the free events space this weekend. Both are free-to-play via Steam through May 10.
Up first is Primal Carnage: Extinction, a 2015-released head-to-head multiplayer game that has dinosaurs going up against a human mercenary team. And next up, you can go out ice fishing in this 2016-launched title Ice Lakes. It offers both single-player sandbox and multiplayer modes, with customizable fishing gear, seasons, VR support, and more available for increased immersion.
Moving on to the Big Deals pile of this weekend, you'll find that quite a few Devolver Digital-published hits, Command & Conquer sales, and several anime game discounts remaining from last week's Golden Week specials are populating it this time. Here are the highlights:
HITMAN 3 – $44.99 on Humble Store X4: Foundations – $29.99 on Steam Mafia: Definitive Edition – $25.49 on GreenManGaming Serious Sam 4 – $23.99 on Steam DRAGON BALL Z: KAKAROT – $23.99 on Steam Partisans 1941 – $19.79 on Steam Hardspace: Shipbreaker - Early Access – $17.49 on Steam CODE VEIN – $16.49 on IndieGala Call of Duty: World at War – $14.99 on Steam Enter x Exit the Gungeon – $13.03 on Steam Carrion – $12.99 on Steam Loop Hero – $11.99 on Steam JUMP FORCE – $11.99 on Steam GOD EATER 3 – $11.99 on Steam BioShock: The Collection – $10.20 on GreenManGaming Command & Conquer Remastered Collection – $9.99 on Steam Endless Space 2 – $9.99 on Steam Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – $9.99 on Steam Observation – $9.99 on Steam My Friend Pedro – $9.99 on Steam Quantum Break – $9.99 on Humble Store The Long Dark – $9.89 on Steam Olija – $9.89 on Steam DRAGONBALL Xenoverse Bundle Edition – $9.74 on Steam Hotline Miami Collection – $9.15 on Steam NBA 2K21 – $8.99 on Fanatical Katana ZERO – $8.99 on Steam DRAGON BALL FighterZ – $8.99 on Steam Neighbours Back From Hell – $8.99 on Steam Tom Clancy's The Division 2 – $8.99 on Humble Store Battle Chasers: Nightwar – $7.49 on Steam Tales of Berseria – $7.49 on Steam Arma 3 – $7.49 on Steam Endless Legend – $7.49 on Steam Exit the Gungeon – $6.99 on Steam GRIS – $6.79 on Steam Don't Starve Together – $5.09 on Steam Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – $4.99 on Steam Heave Ho – $4.99 on Steam APE OUT – $4.94 on Steam RUINER – $3.99 on Steam Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead – $3.99 on Steam Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars – $3.74 on Steam Dungeon of the Endless – $2.99 on Steam Genital Jousting – $2.16 on Steam One Finger Death Punch 2 – $1.99 on Steam Left 4 Dead 2 – $1.99 on Steam Bridge Constructor Portal – $1.99 on Steam Nubarron – $0 on Steam Pine – $0 on Epic Store DRM-free Goodness
The deals coming from the GOG store this weekend are filled with action experiences, retro shooters, and Polish studio-made games, and all of them are DRM-free. See our highlights below:
The Falconeer - $20.99 on GOG Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition - $17.99 on GOG Ghostrunner - $14.99 on GOG CARRION - $13.39 on GOG DUSK - $11.99 on GOG Genesis Noir - $11.99 on GOG Children of Morta - $10.99 on GOG Frostpunk - $10.19 on GOG SUPERHOT - $9.99 on GOG Phantom Doctrine - $7.99 on GOG Shadow Warrior 2 - $7.99 on GOG Iconoclasts - $7.99 on GOG Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice - $7.49 on GOG Call of Juarez: Gunslinger - $5.99 on GOG Darkwood - $5.09 on GOG The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - $4.99 on GOG DOOM II + Final DOOM - $4.99 on GOG Descent - $4.99 on GOG Redneck Rampage Collection - $4.99 on GOG Blood: Fresh Supply - $4.99 on GOG SWAT 4: Gold Edition - $4.99 on GOG The Cat Lady - $4.49 on GOG Quake: The Offering - $3.99 on GOG System Shock 2 - $3.99 on GOG Rise of the Triad: Dark War - $3.89 on GOG Trine Enchanted Edition - $3.74 on GOG Shogo: Mobile Armor Division - $2.99 on GOG Return to Castle Wolfenstein - $2.39 on GOG Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos - $2.03 on GOG Unreal Tournament 2004 Editor's Choice Edition - $1.99 on GOG Serious Sam: The Second Encounter - $1.19 on GOG Deus Ex GOTY Edition - $0.97 on GOG Keep in mind that availability and pricing for some deals could vary depending on the region.
That's it for our pick of this weekend's PC game deals, and hopefully, some of you have enough self-restraint not to keep adding to your ever-growing backlogs. As always, there's an enormous amount of other deals ready and waiting all over the interwebs as well as in services you may already subscribe to if you comb through them, so keep your eyes open for those, and have a great weekend.
UPDATE: Fixed Serious Sam 4 price error.
AMD Radeon 21.5.1 driver has Resident Evil Village and Metro Exodus Enhanced support
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
AMD today brought forth another driver update for its Radeon graphics cards lineup, and this is the first release to arrive after the much-delayed feature overhaul that landed last month. The new Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.5.1 driver is what graphics card owners on the red team will want to install if they are keen on playing Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition or Resident Evil Village.
The PC exclusive enhanced edition of Metro Exodus is aimed solely at ray-tracing capable graphics cards, and it is now available as a free update to all owners of the post-apocalyptic title. However, while AMD is working on a DLSS competitor, FidelityFX Super Resolution, Metro developer 4A Games has confirmed that the FidelityFX technology will not be utilized in its game.
As for Capcom's Resident Evil Village - the survival horror title releasing on May 7 - AMD promises up to 13% better performance with the latest 21.5.1 driver compared to the 21.4.1 release. The tests were performed on an RX 6800XT graphics card while the game was running at 4K resolution on maximum settings.
Here are the resolved problems of this release, which include a fix for a Disco Elysium issue, game detection support for some Xbox Game Pass titles, and more:
The larger than usual known issue list follows:
The Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 21.5.1 driver is now available for download via the optional section in the Radeon Software app on Windows. Standalone download links can be found on AMD's official release notes portal here.
Ubisoft's The Division is getting a free-to-play spin-off and a mobile game
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Out of the blue, Ubisoft today announced Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, a brand new game coming from its Red Storm Entertainment studio. Moreover, the mobile space is being invaded by The Division franchise for the first time.
Heartland will be a free-to-play experience, unlike the mainline games. Ubisoft did not give out any more details on what sort of a game will this project turn out to be, only adding that it is a "standalone game that doesn’t require previous experience with the series but will provide an all new perspective on the universe in a new setting."
Red Storm has previously worked on a number of Tom Clancy games since 1997, and most recently, provided support for The Division 2's development. The studio plans to launch the mysterious title sometime in 2021 or 2022 across PC, consoles, and cloud platforms. Interested players can also attempt to enter an early playtest for the game by heading here.
Meanwhile, there is even less information available regarding the mobile game. Ubisoft says it is planning to bring The Division universe "to an even wider audience" with this move, with more details coming later. Ubisoft will be hosting another Forward event to showcase its upcoming games at E3 this year. That's probably where we will get to see more information about these latest projects.
As for The Division 2's future, Ubisoft Massive is continuing to lead its development while Ubisoft Bucharest is now providing support. The plan is to drop a brand new game mode for the largely cooperative title and a new method for leveling agents. This content is coming in late 2021. Keep in mind that Massive is also developing an open-world Star Wars game at the same time.
Ubisoft added that The Division franchise is now 40 million players strong. Going beyond just games, the company is collaborating with Netflix to develop a movie set in this universe, while a brand new novel is incoming from the publisher Aconyte Books that explores the aftermath of The Division 2's storyline.
Pine is free to claim on the Epic Games Store this week
by Vishal Laul
Epic Games Store has put on offer Pine for this week’s giveaway, taking the place of a premium pack for Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms.
Pine is an indie action-adventure title originally released in October of 2019 following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It features a simulated open-world with NPCs following a set of rules rather than a pre-defined path or logic. Here’s how the Epic Games Store describes it:
Epic Games Store is offering Pine for Windows but it’s also available for macOS and Linux via Steam where it is priced $24.99 at the time of writing. Here are the minimum requirements:
If you wish to claim Pine, you can find it here. It will be free to claim until May 13, which is when Epic will put on offer The Lion's Song for its next giveaway.