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Opera buys GameMaker Studio creator to get deeper into gaming
by João Carrasqueira
Opera, the developer of the web browser of the same name, has announced its acquisition of YoYo Games, a Scotland-based team behind the popular game development tool, GameMaker Studio. The transaction is worth nearly $10 million, and it will help Opera kickstart a new division of its company, Opera Gaming.
This isn't Opera's first venture into the gaming world. In 2019, the company introduced Opera GX, a web browser designed for gamers, offering some performance-focused features such as low power usage and a network limiter to improve online connections in games. Over time, features such as integration with Razer Chroma have also been added, as well as Discord integration. While some might argue a "gaming browser" has no real benefits, Opera claims 7 million monthly active users in December 2020, a 350% growth year-on-year.
GameMaker Studio is a popular tool for indie developers, specifically for 2D games, allowing developers to create games for more platforms easily from a single codebase. Some acclaimed titles, such as Risk of Rain, Undertale, and Hyper Light Drifter, were developed using the tool.
Opera Gaming will bring together Opera GX and YoYo Games, and the company says the new division will focus on innovating in the gaming, game development, and browser spaces. It's not clear exactly how that innovation will materialize just yet, but we're likely to hear more about it in the future.
Opera for Android 61 launches with media player and WebSnap
by Paul Hill
Opera has announced the availability of Opera for Android 61. The new update includes an integrated media player that removes the need for third-party media players as well as WebSnap, a tool that lets you snap the current page and add doodles, text, and emojis before sending the picture to your contacts. The built-in QR code scanner has also been made easier to access.
The headline feature is this update is the integrated media player. According to Opera, it providers users with a “smooth media experience” and removes the need to open content in a third-party player. The new media player includes Play Queue support so you can watch or listen to your media in a particular order while continuing to browse. It also supports picture-in-picture mode you can watch and browse at the same time.
Another new addition is WebSnap which functions like the snapshot tool on the desktop version of Opera. WebSnap lets you screenshot the current page and add doodles, text, and emojis before you forward the image onto friends. The WebSnap feature can be accessed in the three-dot menu in the top right.
The final change in Opera for Android 61 is that the QR scanner is now easier to open. Opera said that QR codes are becoming more and more common in markets around the world so it wanted to make the QR scanner more prominent and easier to access. You can open the QR scanner directly in the search box on the start page as well as on web pages. If you long-press the Opera home screen icon, you can drag the QR scanner onto the home screen making your native QR scanning app redundant.
The firm said that this version also includes over 300 fixes which will ensure you receive the best possible browsing experience. If you already have Opera for Android installed, you should get the update automatically via the Google Play Store. If you don’t have the browser yet and want to try it, you can find it here.
By Abhay V
Microsoft releases firmware and driver updates for Surface Laptop and Pro devices
by Abhay Venkatesh
As part of the regular updates for its Surface devices, Microsoft is rolling out a bunch of firmware updates to the Surface Laptop 1, Laptop 2, Pro 5, and Pro 6 devices. The updates are rolling out to devices running the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) or newer and bring a bunch of audio, reliability, and other improvements.
The first-gen Surface Laptop updates mostly bring audio performance and playback improvements, in addition to the general system updates to enhance stability. Here is the complete changelog for the update:
Windows Update History Name
Device Manager Name
Version and Update
Realtek Semiconductor Corp. - SoftwareComponent - 11.0.6000.92
Realtek Hardware Support Application - Software components
Improves application stability during audio playback. Realtek Semiconductor Corp. - Media - 6.0.8936.1
Realtek High Definition Audio (SST) - Sound, video, and game controllers
Improves audio performance and battery life. Realtek Semiconductor Corp. - Extension - 188.8.131.52
Realtek High Definition Audio (SST) Extension - no Device Manager notes
Improves integration between system services. Surface – System – 184.108.40.206
Surface Integration Driver Service – System devices
Improves integration between system services. The updates for the Surface Laptop 2 are mostly identical, including the same audio performance improvements. However, the second general clamshell laptop is receiving an additional fix for the Serial Hub Driver that fixes issues with the system experiencing bugchecks. Here is the changelog for the additional driver update:
Windows Update History Name
Device Manager Name
Version and Update
Surface - System – 220.127.116.11
Surface Serial Hub Driver – System devices
Addresses system bugcheck. Next up are the Surface Pro devices. The update changelogs for the fifth-gen and sixth-gen Surface Pro devices are identical to that of the first-gen Surface Laptop, bringing similar audio and stability fixes to the devices.
The company has not listed any known issues with these updates, which is always a good thing. As usual, these firmware releases will be rolled out in a staggered manner, meaning that not all devices will receive the update right away.
Again, users of these PCs should be running Windows 10 version 1903 or newer. With this version of the OS soon reaching the end of support next week, Microsoft has already begun force-upgrading users to Windows 10 version 1909, so it shouldn’t be a problem for most users. You can head to Windows Update to check if your device has been offered the updates yet.
Opera GX adds support for Razer Chroma RGB Lighting Effects
by Paul Hill
Opera has announced that its gaming browser, Opera GX, now supports Razer Chroma RGB Lighting Effects so that any of your Chroma-enabled devices will dynamically respond to your browsing. Whenever you start your browser, open a new tab, activate limiters or finish a download your Razer products will respond with custom Chroma RGB Lighting Effects.
Opera GX has always had support for Razer Chroma RGB ever since it launched in 2019 during E3 that year. Before today, users could set up Opera GX so that Razer hardware would match the browser’s theme colours but with dynamic Razer Chroma RGB support, you’ll be able to make your Razer hardware light-up in interesting ways.
In addition to the lighting effects mentioned above, Opera GX has added the ability to play GIFs on your Razer keyboard whenever you get a notification from Discord, Twitch, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp or Instagram. This will be good for those who like to receive prominent notifications.
According to Opera, the new lighting effects are not continually displayed, rather they’re invoked whenever something occurs in the browser. If you are playing a game or watch a movie in full-screen, any lighting effects sent to your Razer hardware will be dimmed as not to distract you too much.
Microsoft Weekly: Halo 4 finally on PC, more Fluent icons, and optional updates
by Florin Bodnarescu
The last week brought Halo 4 for the first time to PC players the world over, a Fluent Design upgrade for Edge icons showed up – as well as multiple new features -, plus some security fixes for a range of Windows 10 versions. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of November 15 - 21.
Halo 4 finally on PC
After much anticipation, the final title in the Master Chief Collection, aka Halo 4, has finally arrived on PC. Bringing cross-play support and a bunch of new enhancements, the game is now live on Steam, the Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass for PC. If you’re curious as to what exactly the title has to offer, do take a peek at the review that’s currently up, in which our very own Pulasthi Ariyasinghe calls the FPS a “satisfying conclusion to the Master Chief Collection”.
Continuing with the first-party news, Sea of Thieves has received its November update, complete with a range of bug fixes, upgrades to Treasure Vault voyages, performance improvements, and much, much more. The update comes in at 6GB on Windows 10, Xbox One X, and Xbox Series X, with the One S and Series S owners receiving a slightly smaller 5GB update. Steam owners are the luckiest with a measly 3.6GB required to download.
And since we mentioned it, before we get back to the game news, it’s worth interjecting with the fact that new Xbox Series S orders may arrive after the holidays. This is because, unsurprisingly, the Series S is out of stock.
Returning to first-party games, Minecraft has just gotten a new Star Wars-themed DLC, and if that’s not quite what you want to be playing this week, there’s always a bunch of Deals with Gold to browse, including ones for Code Vein, Dark Souls, Ace Combat 7, and much more.
Ending this section is a bit of gameplay from both the Xbox One X and Series X for CD Projekt RED’s upcoming open-world RPG, Cyberpunk 2077. Switching between the two consoles frequently, the video highlights interiors, exteriors, combat, and other NPC interactions.
More Fluent icons
Regardless of your opinion of the new Edge, one major change in comparison to the Legacy version is that the browser gets updated more frequently than before.
As such, everybody in the Dev and Canary channels can now start using the text comments in PDFs feature. If you haven’t gotten it yet, the Dev build is 88.0.702, in case you want to try out this capability.
There are also new features added to Edge this month, like an improved copy-paste experience, better integration with Bing rewards, new shopping features, and much more.
Staying on the subject of improvements, now when you open history, it will show a pop-up window which allows you to more easily navigate through your previously opened links. Furthermore, you’re now able to pin a history icon next to the address bar for easy access.
Microsoft was also eager to share the fact that Edge WebView2 is now available for .NET. This, for folks not aware, is the Chromium Edge equivalent of Project Spartan’s (old Edge) EdgeHTML-based WebView. Additionally, the Redmond firm also aims to stop Chromium browsers from launching with elevated privileges.
Finally, for those of you who wish the company would just stop for a second and update everything to its (for now) unified Fluent Design system, there’s good news. Chromium Edge is going to be getting a new set icons to bring the entire experience more in line with the company’s design aesthetic du jour. The first phase is currently being rolled out.
If you’ve been running Windows 10 for a while, you’ll be aware that Microsoft also releases optional updates from time to time, beyond its Patch Tuesday patches.
If you’re on 1809, or the October 2018 Update, you’ll get KB4594442, which bumps up the build number to 17763.1579 and addresses a security bug with Kerberos authentication and ticket renewal. If you’re running the Anniversary Update (1607), that same fix will come through for you as KB4594441, bumping the build number up to 14393.4048, while folks on the May 2019 Update (1903) and November 2019 Update (1909) will be getting KB4594443, with builds 18362.1199 and 18363.1199, respectively.
Finally, those on either the May 2020 Update (2004) or October 2020 Update (20H2) will receive KB4594440, with builds 19041.631 and 19042.631.
Microsoft was busy releasing even more builds however, so here’s what else you need to be on the lookout for:
May 2019 Update / November 2019 Update (1903/1909): KB4586819, builds 18362.1237 / 18363.1237 – fixes a bug that causes Edge to open in the background when the device is in tablet mode, as well as bugs with USB 3.0 hubs, Narrator, and WMR headsets running in lower resolution modes. October 2018 Update (1809) Enterprise, Education: KB4586839, build 17763.1613 – fixes the same bugs for the version above, as well as the issue which may cause the HDD to fill up in certain error situations. The known issues for all updates above remain the same ones outlined in the Patch Tuesday wave of updates.
In other news, Microsoft will not release any optional Windows 10 cumulative updates in December. This applies to preview updates (so basically A, C, and D wave updates, rather the B wave ones which come with Patch Tuesday every month). This is due to “minimal operations during the holidays and the upcoming Western new year”.
Over in the Insider Dev channel, the company unleashed build 20262 with a number of fixes, as well as 20262.1010, the of which was simply a Cumulative Update to test out the servicing pipeline.
Polls in Teams meetings have now started rolling out. New Power Apps and Dataverse are now generally available for Teams. Photoshop Beta is now available for ARM-based Windows 10 and macOS devices. WinUI 3 Preview 3 is now out, featuring ARM64 support. Dynamics 365 Project Operations has been announced, aimed at service-based businesses in India. Microsoft 365 is now available from datacenters in Brazil. The November updates for Microsoft 365 include new Teams apps, among other features. Teams personal features are now rolling out on desktop and the web. The Surface Studio 2 has gotten new firmware updates to fix audio performance and stability, with the Go 2 and Book 3 now available for purchase in India. Logging off
We cap things off with a new security chip that Microsoft intends to introduce for Windows-based devices.
In what the firm will be dubbing Pluton going forward, Microsoft has announced essentially the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip equivalent, but integrated on the SoC.
Seen in other solutions like the Xbox consoles or Azure Sphere, this is basically an intersection of software and hardware to provide the benefits of TPM chips in terms of security, but (currently) none of the drawbacks. Specifically, since TPM is separate from the CPU, perpetrators are able to target the channel between the CPU and TPM chip with their attacks.
Working with AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm on the solution – with AMD being the first to use it -, Microsoft says that the Pluton chip will work with BitLocker and System Guard, and that information can’t be removed from the chip via malware or any other way.
Integrated with Windows Update in the same way Azure Sphere Security Service integrates with IoT devices, the chip will make sure that firmware updates come directly from Microsoft.
There’s currently no word as to when we’ll be seeing the chip’s debut in PCs.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.