iOS Lock Screen Bypass Vulnerability Fixed By Apple

Apple has reportedly fixed a security flaw in the iOS operating system that would allow attackers to be able to bypass passcode lock screens on iPhone 6S and 6S Plus that are running version 9.3.1 of iOS. The bypass would have allowed malicious parties to be able to access the address book and photos of a targeted device, which could expose a lot of private data.

German security firm, Evolution Security, were responsible for discovering the bypass, which takes advantage of the integration of Siri with apps such as Twitter or Facebook, as well as the new 3D Touch feature that is included only in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Even while the device is locked, an attacker would be able to request information on @ tags from Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo. From there, the 3D touch’s hard push feature can be used to bring up the context menu for a string such as an email address. This menu provides the ability to add the data to a contact in the phone’s address book and from there, by accessing the choice to change user pictures, the photo gallery can be launched.

According to the Washington Post, the vulnerability was patched by Apple on Tuesday without users needing to install a software update. Considering the high level of security on the iPhone that led to Apple’s protracted battle with the FBI, it is surprising that so much user data can be exposed by a flaw in the lock screen, which is often the first and last line of defense for the security of the data on the device.

Hitman PC Patch 1.03 Enhances DirectX 12 Performance

The Hitman franchise quickly became a firm favourite with stealth aficionados due to the tense takedowns and open world environments. Even though Hitman Absolution felt a little out-of-place, the game’s core mechanics were solid and provided an excellent experience. Its sequel was originally intended to be a standard full price release but this was quickly changed to suit an episodic business model. This sudden alteration raised concerns about the game’s content and value proposition. However, the reception for the first episode was overwhelmingly positive and looks like it helped improve the overall pacing.

Today, the latest Hitman patch has been released which includes a number of performance enhancements using the DirectX 12 render. This is vital because the DirectX 12 option created some performance issues on numerous setups. There’s also new challenges and a host of other content in the 1.03 update. Here is the changelog in full:

General game improvements

  • The Vampire Magician Challenge Pack : 10 new challenges that were inspired by how our community have been playing the game.
  • Continued improvements to load times: The improvements will be most notable when loading The Showstopper mission in Paris and we’re already working on improving all loading times even more.
  • Improved responsiveness for in-game menus and image loading: We’ve implemented an image caching system that will improve responsiveness and loading times for all images in the game menu.
  • Fixed issues with scoring: Primarily, this fixes an issue that resulted in many players earning a “0 second” time bonus and an incorrect score of 210,000. A leaderboard reset will be implemented at a later date.
  • Continued improvements to connectivity: Server stability improvements.

PC-specific improvements

General gameplay

  • Prompts for dumping a body now appear, regardless of the positioning of the game camera, both in Showstopper and Final Test missions.
  • 47 no longer drops a body immediately after starting to drag it.
  • Unnoticed kills or subdue will no longer trigger a brief “compromised” state. This previously caused players to fail the ‘never spotted’ reward.
  • The ‘visibly armed’ warning is now always shown when 47 is carrying a large weapon on his back.
  • The light rig (Showstopper) and life raft (Freeform Training) can now be reliably dropped using explosives.
  • Opportunities in Showstopper and Final Test have been made more consistent.
  • Fixed an issue where the first few seconds of the game would appear to run at double speed.

Showstopper

  • Novikov will no longer get stuck in an infinite loop during the Rare Scoop opportunity. This would happen if the player gets Max Decker to call Novikov whilst he is on his way to the interview.
  • Novikov will no longer talk to Dalia on the phone when she has already been eliminated.
  • Fixed a rare issue that made the “In Seine” challenge impossible to complete. This would happen when the Private Meeting opportunity overlapped with Novikov on stage at the Fashion Show.
  • Fixed an issue where the Showstopper mission could not be completed if the player calls Dalia during the Fireworks show whilst disguised as Helmut Kruger.

Crash Fixes

  • Fixed various crash issues that could occur when doing the following: loading a new stage in Escalation Contracts, loading the game or after exploding a gas cylinder.
  • Fixed a crash that occurred when shooting at the target in Freeform training during the “Searching” state.
  • Fixed many other crash issues that were occurring during gameplay.

Options

  • Added an option to the game launcher that allows players to override the ‘default memory safeguards’ and allow them to use any available resolution and graphic quality settings.
  • Increased resolution cap for players with 3gb graphics cards from 1920×1200 to 2560×1600.

DX12

  • DX12 shader and pipeline cache now included in all Steam builds.
  • Fixed a graphical issue with transparent windows on DX12.
  • Improved vertex colours on DX12.

Misc.

  • Briefings for Featured Contracts can now be viewed at the planning stage.
  • The ‘Contract Assassin’ achievement can now be completed.
  • The mouse cursor is now always visible on the ‘Load Game’ menu.
  • Fixed an issue where the game would get stuck at 12% loading between the Prologue missions.
  • Fixed a rare issue where players were asked to (re)download the Showstopper mission.

Hardware

  • Fixed a rare issue where the game was switching between controller and keyboard controls, due to detecting specific hardware as a ‘game controller’.

39 Android Flaws Fixed in Major Security Patch

Google’s latest patch for their Android operating system is one of the biggest security patches ever released for the OS. This monthly security update covers 39 vulnerabilities that had been found, of which 15 were of the highest rating, critical, which mean they could be used to lead to total compromisation of a device. This patch, which is part of the latest firmware image for Android devices rolled out to Nexus devices starting on Monday, with the update to be added to the Android Open Source Project during the next 24 hours.

One of the vulnerabilities that were included in this patch is one that Google was alerted to just two weeks ago, which has already been employed by a publicly available rooting application. With the tracking tag of CVE-2015-1805, this flaw was originally in the Linux kernel until April 2014, but until recently it wasn’t known that Android was also affected.

As many as nine critical remote code execution flaws were patched in Android’s media codec, media server, and Stagefright library. Of these, five were rated as high impact, including one privilege escalation vulnerability and four information disclosure issues. Critical flaws were also patched in the Android kernel, the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol client, Qualcomm Performance module and the Qualcomm RF modules.

Aside from CVE-2015-1805’s use in a rooting application, there is no known exploitation of the other vulnerabilities fixed in this patch according to a security advisory from Google. As a result of the large number of high-impact and critical flaws fixed in this patch, it is highly recommended that any updates to Android 6 offered by manufacturers are installed before attacks that make use of them are released into the wild.

Two Year Old Java Vulnerability Reappeared Thanks to Broken Patch

Back in 2013, Oracle released a patch for a critical security flaw in Java. Now it has been found that this patch was ineffectual and easily bypassed, once again making PCs and servers running even the latest version of Java vulnerable to it.

The tracking code for this flaw in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database was CVE-2013-5838 and managed to be rated at 9.3 out of 10 by Oracle according to the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). This vulnerability allows attackers to escape from the Java security sandbox that usually limits the code that can be run in a Java virtual machine using the Java Runtime Environment. Able to be utilized remotely without authentication allows attackers to totally compromise a target system.

Now, researchers at Security Explorations discovered that the patch used to fix the vulnerability was majorly flawed, with the proof-of-concept code from 2013 requiring a change of only 4 characters in order to bypass it. The full details of the ability to bypass the patch were documented in a full technical report released by Security Explorations.

The versions of Java affected by this flaw include all of the latest versions: Java SE 7 Update 97, Java SE 8 Update 74 and Java SE 9 Early Access Build 108. Additionally, Oracle’s original advisory stating that CVE-2013-5838 only affected client deployments of Java and is exploited through “sandboxed Java Web Start applications and sandboxed Java applets.” Security Explorations CEO Adam Gowdiak explained that this was incorrect, stating that “We verified that it could be successfully exploited in a server environment as well as in Google App Engine for Java.”

While attackers would still require an additional vulnerability in order to bypass the security prompts that feature in newer versions of Java, it is easily possible that victims could be convinced to allow the malicious applet to run.

Unlike many firms, Security Explorations did not report the issue to Oracle prior to releasing it publicly. Gowdiak stated that “We do not tolerate broken fixes any more,” and that there would be full public releases whenever broken vulnerability fixes are found. Oracle are yet to respond to the report, with it currently unknown if an emergency update will occur to patch the issue, or whether it will remain in place until the next quarterly Critical Patch Update, on April 19.

Diablo 2 Gets A Patch 16 Years After Release

Blizzard has many game series in their name, with the Warcraft game series soon to get its own movie. Another popular series from the company is the Diablo series, featuring angels and demons fighting it out for years and years now. Now 16 years after its original release, and a sequel, Diablo 2 gets a patch.

Diablo 2 last received a patch back in 2011, but now five years later the game gets its next update. First released in 2000, those who want to sit back and enjoy the classic game will now find it easier to play on modern systems.

The patch addresses several things but the major points are the ability to play the game on windows 7, 8 and even 10 without the need for “XP mode”. If you are more of an OSX user, the game should now also work on your system.

If you still need another reason to play it, the game now features enhanced cheat-detection and hack-prevention capabilities. In the original post, the author makes it clear that this is but the first step and that “it does not end there”.

Given the graphics update for Diablo III and now this, could the Diablo series be seeing new life soon? If you feel like trying out the game, check out the Blizzard store, where both Diablo 2 and the Lord Of Destruction expansion are only $9.99 each (£7).

Time To Look Great In Diablo III Thanks To Cosmetics Patch

The problem you often find when you play any game with items is that you end up torn between looking good and actually being good. Some of the best look items I’ve ever found in games are mid-tiered, meaning that while they look awesome playing with them actually makes me weaker than I could/should be. This is a problem commonly found with games, but Diablo III has you covered if you felt like you needed a little more style thanks to its new cosmetics patch.

Typically without buying the collectors edition (something that is rather hard to find these days), you were limited in how amazing you could look thanks to the limited pets and wings available for your characters.

The latest patch (2.4.1) is a small one by many standards, but will add a wide range of graphical choices for your characters, from the Wings of Kokabiel making you look like a fairy demon to the Star Helm and Pauldrons calling you to battle in space.

Below you can find just a few of the new items and pets that you will be now able to quest for and upon receiving, look like a true warrior.

When you play a game do you look for style or are you one for the stats the items bring? Is there a way to find a balance? Give us your opinion on if stats or looks are more important in games

Adobe Issues Patch For Code-Execution Bug

Flash has long been at the heart of a debate over usability and security. The media player has long been used for everything from Youtube to online games, but it has often by problems with even the fixes containing problems. As a result, people are being told to avoid using the tool and instead using HTML 5, seems like we have yet another reason to listen given the latest patch to try to fix a code-execution bug.

By code-execution bug, we mean that it would be possible to execute code remotely, meaning they could quickly perform actions without your knowledge or say. This exploit is a rather large one, enabling a whole host of problems from the get go rather than others with specific purposes or problems.

The zero-day vulnerability was found by Anton Ivanov, a member of Kaspersky Lab, and was credit as such. Kaspersky Lab researchers have been observing the vulnerability and had seen it used in “a very limited number of targeted attacks”.

With so many vulnerabilities, it comes as no surprise that people are trying to steer away from using Flash. We recommend that if you don’t actively use the tool you remove it from your system, something that could only improve your security given flash’s checkered past. If you do use Flash, then we recommend that you update it now and make sure that you keep checking for security patches.

Fallout 4 Update 1.4 Now Available for Download

Fallout 4 is still going strong and I’m sure many of you are either still walking the wasteland or, at least, you’re planning to get started on the latest Bethesda developed epic. The new update brings a lot of patches and they’re certainly welcome, as with such a big game it’s inevitable that there will be a lot of bugs.

The new patch brings with it a few general performance improvements, which are always a welcome addition for any format, as well as support for add-ons, more metal and wood door variants, and a nice range of bug fixes. Can’t say I’m bothered about the new doors, though, as with PC mods, I’ve already got dozens more than standard anyway.

Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect to find when you update your game to version 1.4:

New Features

  • General performance improvements
  • Support for add-ons
  • Additional art customization added to Workshop:
  • Super Mutant clutter including meat totems, meat bags and meat cart
  • Raider clutter including raider poles, cages and tents
  • Abstract and portrait paintings
  • Variety of new signs
  • More metal and wood doors variants

Fixes

  • General stability and performance improvements
  • During “Getting a Clue” quest, Kellogg’s desk will remain a working container
  • During “Rocket’s Red Glare”, resolved issue where companions could not be dismissed after completing the quest
  • Fixed an issue with “Kremvh’s Tooth” quest item not spawning properly
  • Settlements under attack will now display an updated message with the results of the attack if player does not respond
  • Fixed an issue with screen effects not clearing away properly after using a scope
  • Fixed an issue with trying to sprint while in third person with a minigun equipped
  • Rank 4 of Demolition Expert perk now properly increases the area effect of explosives
  • The Scrounger perk now includes additional common ammo types
  • Fixed an issue where Calvin Whitaker would disappear in Vault 81
  • Fixed an issue where Ninja and Sandman perks combined would apply the incorrect damage bonus
  • Fixed an issue where Rank 3 of Grim Reaper’s Sprint did not fill critical meter properly
  • Fixed an issue with key cards not spawning correctly in Vault 75
  • Fixed an issue where enemies would stop spawning during “Airship Down”
  • Being in first person while wearing power armor and quickly switching weapons will no longer cause the Pip-Boy to be stuck
  • Fixed an issue with the autosave counter getting incorrectly reset
  • Fixed issue that would cause the Pip-Boy menu to turn invisible while swimming
  • Fixed an issue where scrapping larger quantities of a single item would inadvertently scrap a legendary item
  • Fixed issue where exiting workbenches would cause third person to stop working properly
  • The Scribe can now be assigned consecutive settlements properly
  • Fixed issue with duplicating scraps shipments
  • Fixed issue with vendors not properly exchanging caps after several consecutive transactions in a row
  • Fixed issue with the quicksave and autosave message persisting through loading screens
  • Fixed an issue where updating to the latest patch would cause Options settings to reset back to default (Xbox One)
  • Fixed an issue with loading save with a placed object in water, not properly floating

Far Cry Primal To Get Expert Mode In Day One Patch

From deserts to tropical islands and even the Himalayas, the Far Cry series has seen us take on everything from wild beasts with claws to hired mercenaries with guns. This is nothing compared to what is coming with the new game in the series, Far Cry Primal, looking to send you back in time to an age of feral sabertooth tigers and giant wooly mammoths. If this wasn’t enough for you to survive against, one day one you can expect to receive a whole new challenge in the form of the Expert Mode.

Like many games, Far Cry has always been about challenging the players but allowing you to experience the game as you feel comfortable, be that by taking damage and having to retake the island that you swore to free from madmen or taking a casual stroll amongst the bullets as you go about freeing countries before lunch time. The Expert Mode is more for those who want to feel the pressure of the hunt, with enemies getting a buff to everything while Takkar, your character, suffers more from even the slightest wound.

While a nice feature the day one patch will also feature improved stability and performance, with player collision and AI overhauls being amongst the list of fixes and changes, the full list of which you can below.

Expert Mode Changes

  • Players’ health has been halved compared to Hard difficulty.
  • Reduced players aim assist.
  • AI shoots faster by 1/3
  • Enemies in combat are not shown on mini map by default (they appear only if they are tagged).
  • It takes the AI a longer time to “forget” you when you hide
  • The aim assist box is reduced for several weapon types (bow, club, spear)
  • The player damage is reduced

Other Fixes:

Stability & Performance

  • Optimization and stability have been improved
  • Improved lighting

Weapons & HUD

  •  Improved reticle display

Wildlife & AI 

  • Improved beast companion behavior
  • Fixed rare animation issues
  • Improved visual of the mammoth when it destroys objects
  • Improved animal fighting behavior when triggering a fight

Design & progression  

  • Tweaked and balanced XP rewards
  • Tweaked the damage ratio of certain recipes
  • Improved overall balancing

Gameplay  Fixes

  • Improved animations of weapons on fire
  • Fixed issues with lit weapons during cinematics at night
  • Improved player navigation and small collision issues
  • Improved camera transition and minor collision issues on cinematics

Rise of The Tomb Raider Patch Boosts Performance

Rise of the Tomb Raider originally launched as an Xbox One exclusive and looks phenomenal given the technical limitations of Microsoft’s latest console. The PC version was spearheaded by Nixxes Software, a studio renowned for its optimization skills and created a wide range of very competent PC ports. Thankfully, the team produced Rise of the Tomb Raider and implemented various enhancements including HBAO+, enhanced lighting effects as well as support for high resolutions. While the game is quite demanding, this is justified by the visual fidelity on offer.

Recently, the publisher released a patch which contains a number of performance improvements in GPU bound scenarios. Here we can see the changelog in full:

Rise of the Tomb Raider – PC Update 1.0.616.4 Changelog:

  • Fixed Map sometimes not showing or showing the wrong region.
  • Fixed ALT-TAB in combination with Exclusive Fullscreen occasionally hanging the game or entire system. (Steam Only)
  • Fixed graphics glitches on NPC clothing on NVIDIA 6×0 and 7×0 hardware.
  • Fixed rare crashes with a “DX11 Internal Heap” error.
  • Added separate mouse sensitivity control for X and Y axis, allowing users to equalize sensitivity.
  • Added option to reduce in-game camera shake, for users that prefer this.
  • Added audio-cue for finding secrets in the relic viewer.
  • Fixed game changing system screen saver settings for some users. (Steam Only)
  • Added additional error handling and messaging in case the GPU driver is crashing or unresponsive.
  • Various performance improvements for GPU-bound situations. CPU bound scenarios are not impacted.
  • A variety of other smaller optimizations, bug-fixes, and tweaks.

It will be fascinating to see how this impacts on the frame-rate across various tiers of GPUs. In the coming days, we should have a performance analysis using the latest patch and I cannot wait to see the results. Nixxes Software always works extremely hard to refine the overall level of optimization and continues to provide excellent post launch support.

Substantial Rocket League Patch Released For PC And PS4

Rocket League is a phenomenally successful vehicular football/soccer game and forged a very active community. The accessible driving mechanics, intense online action and competitive play has made it one of the most successful indie sports titles ever! It’s fully deserved though, and the core formula is extremely addictive especially with friends. The developer, Psyonix has just released a major patch in time for season 2 which features a huge array of fixes. Here is the changelog in full:

Rocket League Update 1.11 Patch Notes

  • Ranked play Season 1 has ended and rewards will be given to all ranked participants bronze or above
  • Ranked Season 2 play has begun (renamed to “Competitive Season 2″)
  • The “Rocket Labs” experimental playlist is now available for casual Online play
  • New Item Rarity system introduced, “Common” and “Uncommon” items can now be found after Online matches
  • “Wasteland” arena has been added to Competitive Playlists
  • “Snow Day” can now be played in Private Matches
  • Performance has been improved in multiple Arenas
  • (BETA) Player Reporting feature has been added
  • “Quick Chat Only” filter has been added to Text Chat options
  • Russian and Turkish language support has been added
  • Multiple outstanding bugs have been fixed

NEW CONTENT

Antennas

  • deadmau5
  • Added “Community Flags”
    • 9GAG
    • Destructoid
    • GameSpot
    • Gfinity
    • GoldGlove
    • Operation Sports
    • IGN
    • (PC) NVIDIA
  • Added “Country Flags”
    • Tonga

Toppers

  • deadmau5

CHANGES AND UPDATES

Gameplay

  • Players who spawn into a match or replace an existing car have a new visual effect (they no longer explode as if they were Demolished)
  • The “Snow Day” Mutator preset, “Puck” ball type, and DFH Stadium (Snowy) Arena are now available for Exhibition and Private Matches.

General

  • Russian and Turkish language support have been added to the game
  • Implemented a server-side data backup system to reduce the chances of a player losing their save data due to corruption
  • (PS4) General optimization for PS4 to run more reliably.
    • Turned VSync back on by default but disabled Triple Buffering to reduce input lag. The VSync option still exists for users who want to disable it, but you may experience screen tearing with it disabled.

Online

  • “Ranked” Playlist has been renamed “Competitive” Playlist
    • Season 1 has ended! Limited Edition Crowns have been distributed to all participants in Season 1 Ranked Play based on your highest division across all Ranked playlist when Season 1 ends.
    • Competitive Skill Divisions have replaced Rank Points and the Season 1 Ranking System. There are twelve skill divisions. Over time you can be promoted or demoted between divisions based on your performance.
    • Top 100 Leaderboards are now based on your skill rating, similar to the Preseason.
    • Placement matches have been implemented. For each ranked queue, you play ten placement games and are then sorted into a skill division based on your performance.
  • Ranked Reconnect has been added to the game. Players who lose connection during a competitive rocket league match will now be given the option to reconnect to their previous game.
  • “Rocket Labs” experimental playlist is now available for casual Online play
    • A new rotating casual playlist called “Rocket Labs” is now available! Labs features prototype layouts that use temporary art assets. This allows us to release and gather feedback on new designs much more rapidly than we could otherwise.
    • Three Lab Maps are now available in the “Rocket Labs” playlist and Private Matches:
      • Underpass
      • Utopia Retro
      • Double Goal
  • New “Uncommon” Item Drops will now be found uncommonly after online matches. This “Uncommon” item quality features all-new Hats and Antennas for you to discover and equip!
    • Unlike previous seasonal rare drops, these new items don’t have a fixed drop chance after each match. Your chances to find an item after a game will increase for every minute you play until you find something, and then your chance will reset.
    • Uncommon unlocks are only only awarded after a complete game in online playlists (They are not available for unlock offline modes or in Private matches)
    • Multiple copies of the same “Uncommon” item can be collected, illustrated with a count number in the Garage UI
    • There is a maximum of ten hours of playtime per week that can earn items, so don’t bother trying to idle your way to a full inventory!
  • (BETA) Player Reporting option has been added and can be accessed via the mid-game menu. You can report players who are being offensive and the full chat log of the match will be submitted along with your report for administrative review.
  • “Wasteland” arena has been added to the arena rotation for Competitive Playlists

UI/ UX

  • Players will now see keyframes for Goals, Saves, and Epic Saves on timeline when viewing a saved replay file.
  • Players can now disable all text chat except Quick Chat by selecting “Quick Chat Only” option in Text Chat dropdown in the Audio menu
  • (PC) Graphical Options
    • The maximum framerate of the game can now be increased beyond 60 FPS using the “Max FPS” option under Video Settings
    • The size of the user interface can now be modified using the “UI Scale” option under Video Settings

Bug Fixes

  • Optimized performance on Wasteland arena to improve experience for players
  • Fixed Handbrake performance for Backfire, DeLorean Time Machine, Gizmo, Grog, Hotshot, Merc, Takumi, Venom, X-Devil
  • Ball Indicator will properly appear in Beckwith Park (Stormy)
  • Orange Team bots will no longer avoid kickoffs in Beckwith Park
  • Fixed an issue that caused “Winning is Winning” achievement/trophy to fail to unlock when the requirements were met
  • Fixed a graphical bug that displayed a shadow-like texture throughout multiple arenas
  • Fixed an issue that locked chat to Team Chat in the post-game menu
  • Adjusted the audio volume for “Portal” boosts
  • Fiji flag updated so it’s no longer smaller than other flags
  • (PS4) Repaired issue that prevented the “PS Nation” Community Flag from appearing in the Garage

What is your favourite sports game of all-time?

DirectX 12 is Coming to Rise of The Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a spectacular adventure game which beautifully honours the series’ roots while adding a modern twist. The motion capture showcasing Lara’s subtle emotional changes is a sight to behold and almost defies belief. Originally, the game launched as an Xbox One exclusive, and caused a great deal of animosity from fans. This is because the Tomb Raider franchise traditionally released on various platforms including the PlayStation One, SEGA Saturn and PC.  The original reboot featured a fantastic PC version with superb optimization and an ample supply of visual settings. The developer responsible for this impeccable work is Nixxes Software and went onto product Rise of the Tomb Raider for the PC platform.

As you might expect given Nixxes’ reputation, the game is absolutely stunning, supporting various aspect ratios, advanced lighting effects, HBAO+, SMAA and more! This level of graphical fidelity does require a good PC with NVIDIA recommending a GTX 970 or above for the optimal 1920×1080 experience. At this time, the engine is based on the DirectX 11 API and does a good job of scaling across hardware. However, a recent finding by Reddit member ‘-Olek‘, suggests the latest low-level API, DirectX 12 will be implemented into the game fairly soon. To acquire the latest patch with DirectX 12 functionality, all you have to do is replace the game’s executable with the original .exe from the retail version. Steam users can perform this action by selecting the Beta update.

Please note, the DirectX 12 patch does not work at this time, but it shouldn’t be too far off as there’s an option for it in the revised menu. Additionally, it looks like the developer will add TXAA support which is another great inclusion. It will be fascinating to see the performance benefits moving from DirectX 11 to DirectX 12 especially when you consider how demanding the game is. This could be the first indication we have of the benefits of DirectX 12 in real world scenarios.

Further AMD Zeppelin and Zen Details Leaked – Up to 32 Cores!

With Zen set to arrive within the year, AMD is starting to get software ready for their revolutionary CPU architecture. According to a new Linux patch, AMD not only has Zen planned for this year but also a previously rumoured but never confirmed Zepplin CPU. Most interestingly is the connection between Zepplin and Zen which takes 3 letters from Zepplin, suggesting that they may be released, just as Piledriver and Vishera were also related for AMD.

According to the patch, Zepplin is part of the AMD’s Family 17h series of chips. This follows the previous 15h Bulldozer and its derivatives and the stellar K8(8h) and K10(10h). The 17h family is also expected to be the one Zen belongs too, with the K12 being the ARM-based lineup coming soon as well.

On Zen, the patch reveals some new information about how the LLC or Last Level Cache, usually the L3. Each Core Complex or Core Cluster of 8 threads shares 1 LLC unit. Given the use of SMT, we can expect Zen to be based on clusters of 4 cores. This is quite expected as larger CPUs use interconnects to link various different clusters of cores and their LLC together in order to function as a larger core. While Intel’s implementation carries a low penalty for accessing the LLC of another cluster in the chip, AMD’s L3 has been less robust so Zen will hopefully remedy this. You can see Intel’s Xeon E7 v3 design below with clusters formed by 2 cores and linked through buffered switches and interconnects.

Finally, Zen is also expected to feature up to 32 physical cores possible with 64 threads in total. This suggests that the massive Zen CPUs rumoured may actually come to fruition. This should allow AMD to take back some of that lucrative data centre and supercomputing market. All that remains is for Zen to finally deliver and bring AMD back into the black.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Patch 1.12 Out Now – Enhanced Edition Rumoured

CD Projeckt RED has released the 1.12 patch for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, fixing many of the issues reported with the Hearts of Stone expansion. The patch weighs in at 1.4GB and is available now via Steam and GOG.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Patch 1.12 Changelog:

Hearts of Stone

  • Fixes issue whereby achievement titled Wild Rose Dethorned could not be completed.
  • Fixes interaction on pickaxe in quest titled Enchanting: Quality Has Its Price.
  • Fixes issue (in majority of contexts) whereby not all diagrams could be collected in quest titled From Ofier’s Distant Shores.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby some players were prevented from spreading smoke throughout all rooms in crypt during quest titled Dead Man’s Party.
  • Fixes issue whereby book merchant named Marcus T.K. Hodgson failed to appear in market square in Novigrad.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby some Knights of the Flaming Rose in quest titled Open Sesame! in Hearts of Stone expansion could not be killed.
  • Introduces a number of improvements to general game performance.
  • Fixes issue whereby treasure hunt titled The Drakenborg Redemption remained in Journal despite completion of all objectives.
  • Fixes issue whereby swapping of enchanted gear within Inventory granted permanent bonuses to statistics.
  • Fixes issue whereby treasure hunt titled The Royal Air Force remained in Journal despite completion of all objectives.
  • Fixes issue whereby players could not eavesdrop on guards during quest titled Witcher Seasonings in Hearts of Stone expansion.
  • Fixes issue whereby some players could not talk to Shani at certain juncture of quest titled Dead Man’s Party in Hearts of Stone expansion.
  • Introduces a series of minor difficulty balance tweaks at all difficulty levels in Hearts of Stone expansion.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby inebriation effect would persist on screen after quest titled Dead Man’s Party in Hearts of Stone expansion.
  • Fixes issue whereby phase titled Enchanting: Start-up Costs would remain in Journal after Enchanter was paid relevant amount.
  • Fixes incorrect Stamina bonus granted for Caparison of Lament in New Game + mode.
  • Fixes incorrect mesh appearing on Viper School swords in New Game + mode.

DLC

  • Fixes previously unlootable container within Kaer Morhen watchtower during quest titled Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby a doll could not be picked up in quest titled Where the Cat and Wolf Play.
  • Fixes specific user’s issue with werewolf in quest titled Contract: Skellige’s Most Wanted.

Gameplay

  • Fixes issue whereby some toxic gas clouds failed to poison or deal damage to player character.
  • Fixes issue whereby scabbard meshes were missing from witchers other than Geralt.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby attacks performed near friendly NPCs resulted in unintended regeneration of Stamina.
  • Fixes exploit involving Alchemy skill titled Tissue Transmutation.
  • Fixes issue whereby quickslots could disappear if game difficulty level was changed during combat.
  • Fixes exploit involving Superior White Raffard’s Decoction and skill named Delayed Recovery.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby skill named Flood of Anger incorrectly enabled Signs Tree and enhanced Sign Intensity permanently.
  • Introduces fix whereby special bonus granted by Superior Blizzard will take effect only when slow-motion is triggered.
  • Fixes a number of issues affecting potion called Chort decoction.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby some mini-bosses could become immortal under certain circumstances.
  • Fixes misleading message displayed when players attempted to cast Signs in combat, while enveloped by a cloud resulting from the detonation of a Dimeritium Bomb.

GUI

  • Fixes issue whereby items in merchants’ stores could not be compared to currently equipped items.
  • Fixes exploit whereby some items (runes, glyphs) could be upgraded infinitely.
  • Introduces UI enhancement whereby herb name is now displayed above available interaction.
  • Fixes issue whereby keys/controls (mouse and keyboard) were not unbound from current setting when attempted.
  • Fixes issue whereby Toggle HUD button would not always work correctly during set scenes.
  • Introduces enhancement whereby ingredients required for a pinned formula and in possession of a merchant are now highlighted in said merchant’s Shop screen.
  • Improves quest tracking by enabling tracking of objectives across different game regions.
  • Fixes issue whereby Witcher Medallion and statistics bar could disappear if game difficulty level was changed during combat.
  • Introduces enhancement on PC systems whereby weapon and armor repair kits can now be applied via drag and drop.
  • Fixes issue on PC systems whereby toggling HUD did not work correctly on QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard configurations.

Living World

  • Fixes issue whereby treasure hunt titled Shortcut would not complete correctly.
  • Fixes issue whereby destroyed monster nests would respawn after a time.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby Shop screen would not open correctly for traveling merchants.
  • Fixes issue whereby NPCs failed to return to abandoned settlement named Ruined Inn.

Quests

  • Fixes issue whereby some human foes could have empty Vitality bars and thus could not be killed.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby some players could not talk to Fergus during quest titled Master Armorers.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby a monster disappeared incorrectly during quest titled Contract: Phantom of the Trade Route.
  • Restores notice regarding quest titled Races: Crow’s Perch to notice board at said ingame location.
  • Fixes premature display of objective involving placement of a book on a pedestal in quest titled The Witchers’ Forge.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby relevant reward was not granted for completion of Contract: The Creature from the Oxenfurt Forest.
  • Fixes issue whereby encounter with caged wyvern near Oxenfurt was inactive.
  • Fixes a number of rare issues with blacksmith in Mulbrydale in quest titled Person in Distress.
  • Fixes issue whereby quest titled Novigrad, Closed City II would incorrectly be tagged as failed if completed prior to installation of patch 1.10.
  • Introduces balance improvement whereby prices of goods throughout Skellige drop by 10% after Geralt kills the giant and agrees to take all the credit for it in quest titled The Lord of Undvik.
  • Fixes issue whereby quests titled The Nobleman Statuette and The Soldier Statuette were incorrectly and prematurely deactivated and could not be completed.
  • Fixes incorrect map-pin in treasure hunt titled Freya Be Praised!
  • Fixes rarely occurring technical glitch whereby older patch fixes failed to work correctly.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby players could not talk to Hattori after completing quest titled Of Swords and Dumplings.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby Nidas would fail to appear in Novigrad during quest titled Black Pearl.
  • Fixes issue whereby treasure hunt titled Temerian Valuables would not complete correctly.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby quest titled Get Junior would remain active in Journal after game was completed.
  • Fixes issues whereby some Character glossary entries were displayed incorrectly in game.
  • Fixes issue whereby quest titled Free Spirit could not be completed.

Visual

  • Fixes appearance on screen of unwanted visual artifacts after Geralt was teleported to new locations.
  • Improves transitions between distinct scenes and gameplay sequences.

Code

  • Fixes issue whereby launching The Witcher 3 on systems running the Windows OS discarded sRGB settings in users’ ICC profiles.

Other

  • Fixes rare issue whereby NPC animations would playback at reduced speed after quest titled On Thin Ice.
  • Fixes issue whereby quest titled Faithful Friend would incorrectly remain tagged as failed after quest titled Something Ends, Something Begins was completed.

An Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is rumoured to hit shelves early next month. NEOGaf user Coreda found a listing on a French website that points to a 5th February release.

Juniper Releases Second Patch To Fix Flaws

Juniper has been in the news a lot recently, after discovering that their firewalls exposed virtual private networks ‘secure’ data. It was then revealed that this went one step further, with groups like the NSA and GCHQ working together to hack Junipers firewalls. If this wasn’t bad enough, Juniper fell silent on the matter before it was revealed that the software that was vulnerable was still located within their software.  This is set to change though with Juniper releasing a second patch, designed to remove the software responsible for their “insecure” software.

In a post titled “Advancing the Security of Juniper Products“, the use of Dual_EC and ANSI X9.31 will be replaced with a different number generator, one that is used in other products. Dual_EC is the software that is considered flawed and therefore, the greatest security risk, even though it was only added to the software a year after the issues were publically revealed.

This action comes as part of a “detailed investigation” of their software’s code, resulting in patches and the removal of “unauthorized code”. While these actions are well welcomed the questions remain as to why this all started. Where did the “unauthorized code” come from and if Stephen Checkoway, a computer science lecturer from the University  of Illinois in Chicago, is correct, the addition of Dual_EC actually reduced the security on Juniper’s software, making it easier to access it through a backdoor.

Juniper Networks Finds ‘Unauthorised’ Code in Its Software

Cyber security and the integrity of applications are essential for consumers to have confidence their details will be kept safe and not intercepted by a third-party. Well known internet hardware company Juniper networks have issued a warning concerning a discovery it has made within its firewall software, which could have led to a third-party being able to decrypt data which has been sent through an encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network)

During a recent internal code review, it was discovered that “unauthorised code” had somehow made its way into Juniper’s ScreenOS software, it’s interesting to note that many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and also large firms implement the companies routers and network switches. The vulnerability could have allowed a third-party, or as the company refers to the threat as a “Knowledgeable attacker”, could be 12-year-old for all we know, to gain administrative access to NetScreen devices and to decrypt VPN connections.

The unwanted slice of extra code has been present within different versions of ScreenOS since 2012. Juniper has confirmed that it is not aware or received any reports of the vulnerabilities being exploited and urges everyone running the affected devices to quickly apply the released patches with the aim of stripping the unauthorised code out of its firewall software ASAP.

It’s a serious breach and questions will surely be asked concerning how the code managed to make its way into the software.

Image courtesy of smarteranalyst

Batman: Arkham Knight Receives PC Performance Patch

Batman: Arkham Knight launched in a horrendous state on PC and suffered from frame hitching, poor optimization and instability. Unbelievably, Warner Brothers decided to outsource the PC version to Iron Galaxy, a studio with a fairly sketchy record. For example, they are still a relatively new studio created in 2008 and were responsible for the clunky Borderlands 2 port on the PlayStation 4. Batman: Arkham Knight took things to a completely new level and customers had to resort to the Steam Refund policy because the game was completely broken. Warner Brothers admitted this was a massive error on their part, and promised to make the PC version a priority. Despite this, the PC edition is still quite buggy and doesn’t run that well on some setups. Additionally, there’s no support for SLI at all, and the publisher said the possibility of it being integrated is zero.

Yesterday, Batman: Arkham Knight received a new patch and changelog on the official Steam page which reads:

“Hi Everyone,

The latest patch for Batman: Arkham Knight was released today and contains the following updates:

  • Fixed some issues with stars being awarded or lost incorrectly in specific AR Challenges
  • Improved target prioritization during combat
  • Restored heavier rain during the opening section of the game
  • Fixed missing rain effects on a few remaining player character skins
  • Miscellaneous gameplay fixes and stability improvements
  • Fixes to some keyboard and mouse prompts after being rebound
  • Made frame times more consistent for 60hz monitors running at 30fps with VSync enabled
  • Previously equipped gadgets can be selected with keyboard and mouse again after restarting an AR Challenge
  • Fixed the default key binding for Harley’s Snare gadget
  • Batgirl’s Remote Hacking Device can now be properly selected with keyboard & mouse in AR Challenges
  • Minor performance optimizations for certain combinations of hardware
  • Fixed keyboard & mouse controls that did not function in DLC AR Challenges when no previous save data existed
  • Quick Photo Mode can now be triggered with keyboard and mouse controls when using the Batmobile
  • Special Combo Takedowns can now be performed with Quickfire Gadget binds if they were rebound
  • Fixed graphical corruption that may occur after Alt-Tabbing
  • Improvements and corrections to some localized text
  • Added new Classic Harley Quinn skin for use in AR Challenges & the Harley Quinn Story Pack
  • Added Arkham Knight as a playable character for AR Challenges & the Red Hood Story Pack
  • Added support for December DLC content”

How does Batman: Arkham Knight run on your PC?

Just Cause 3 Patch 1.02 Coming This Week

Just Cause 3 is a spectacular open-world action game which builds on the successful legacy of its predecessor. While some parts of the game can become repetitive, it’s easy to overlook given the vibrant environment and incredible explosions. The developer, Avalanche Studios is renowned for producing highly polished PC games such as Mad Max which scale superbly across a wide range of configurations. However, Just Cause 3’s launch was plagued by a day one patch, lack of SLI support and high system requirements. That’s not to say it’s unoptimized, as many people can play the game rather well.

Avalanche Studios’ representative, FistofZeno announced on Reddit that the 1.02 patch will be arriving some time this week and listed a comprehensive changelog which reads:

“In the 1.02 patch (132.1MB), you can expect:

*Significantly improved loading times

*Optimizations to online stats

*General stability fixes

*Fixed an issue related to challenges, wherein vehicles sometimes disappeared when starting a challenge

*Fixed issues related to screen resizing and closing the game window before the game has fully started up [PC Only]

To those of you still having issues, rest assured we are working hard to alleviate these, and are listening very closely to everything that’s being said.

While the patch will improve performance on the whole, we’ve listened to some of the other concerns raised about the game and put together a little list of points which might alleviate these issues:

UNSKIPPABLE CUTSCENES You can skip cutscenes, in fact – all you need to do is hold B on your gamepad, or hit ‘Skip’ from the pause menu.

NO SPRINT BUTTON This isn’t an oversight; it’s very much intended. Our designer’s intent was to encourage you to use Rico’s unique grapple to move around Medici far quicker than his legs would allow, as well as giving you the ability to traverse vertically.

NO CROUCH Rico doesn’t hide. Getting him up in the air is our version of the cover mechanic. Rico is far more deadly in the skies, than pinned behind a container on the ground.

FINDING THE LAST CHAOS OBJECT While there’s no mini-map to help you liberate bases and towns, you can always bring up your map to help find Chaos objects. When you’re down to the last few objects in any given settlement, an approximate location for these will be displayed on the map.”

Unfortunately, there’s no information regarding any support for multi-GPU configurations which is a crying shame. Although, I didn’t expect this as the engine doesn’t officially support SLI and could require some serious time investment to alter.

Fallout 4 Update 1.2 Alleged to Downgrade Graphical Performance on All Platforms

Now that Bethesda’s Update 1.2 for Fallout 4 has rolled out for Xbox One, making it available for every platform, reports suggest that the graphical performance of the game has been downgraded, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One alike.

The update has already caused issues for some modders – which thankfully can be circumvented by those using NMM – and, combined with the alleged graphical downgrade, Bethesda seems to have eroded the faith of some gamers with its latest patch.

EuroGamer’s Digital Foundary put the updated PS4 version through its paces, saying:

“Bethesda delivers a notable boost in Corvega’s overall performance level compared to the day one patch. Across the breadth of our video below, a run of this area puts us at a fixed 30fps in places where the older version dwelled in the mid-20s. It’s a night and day difference at points. It’s a handsome boost then – but it must be stressed that we’re still in the process of determining whether this improvement reflects the game’s other stress-points on PS4 – such as effects-heavy battles.”

The video shows that the update has certainly improved performance, providing a more stable framerate, but still with the occasional drop on a busy screen. It seems, though, that the trade-off to achieve said stability has meant the removal of platform shadows (screencap from 1:14 below).

Ricerocket on Neogaf has taken a screenshot of the PC version – with the game being played on maxed-out settings and shadow distance on ‘high’ – that shows the same omission of shadows:

Avalanche Studios Says Just Cause 3 PC Patch Will Take “a Little Bit of Time”

Avalanche Studios is a PC developer and synonymous for creating highly polished games which scale superbly across a wide range of hardware. Sadly, it appears Just Cause 3 isn’t their finest hour from a technical standpoint and suffers from some optimization issues. Additionally, the engine doesn’t support multi GPU setups which is a major disappointment considering Mad Max utilized SLI configurations extremely well. Despite the rocky launch, I’m fairly confident in the developer’s ability to rectify these problems. Yesterday, Avalanche Studios released a statement on Steam addressing people’s concerns which reads:

“We know that some of you are encountering some technical issues—we’re looking into them all and we’re fully committed to providing you the best possible experience.

We know you’re going to want specific information on when a patch will land and what will be fixed—we would love to give you that information, and we will as soon as we have it. But right now, a little over one day since we launched, we have huge numbers of players in our enormous game world and we’re monitoring all the data coming in.

We need a little bit of time to recreate some of these issues and build fixes. Rest assured though—we are fully committed to making Just Cause 3 as awesome as possible. We already know loads of people are having a blast with the game but we’ll do all we can to make sure everyone is laughing and smiling as they play.”

It’s impossible to defend Avalanche Studios though as the game should have been delayed instead of being released unfinished. This is just another example of a major release exhibiting poor performance and terrible multi-GPU support. Not only that it’s inexcusable to charge for something which doesn’t even work properly. Here we can see an example from Robert Allen, at Tech-Gaming.com:

Star Wars Battlefront Receives Balance Patch

Star Wars Battlefront is possibly one of the most shallow games I’ve ever experienced and suffers from a severe lack of content. While the game’s visuals are awe-inspiring, it’s difficult to look past the unbalanced multiplayer, poor map selection and terrible character customization. This results in one of the most disappointing titles this year and raises questions about EA’s ability to properly honor the Star Wars saga. On the other hand, EA has just released a patch including balance tweaks, enhanced optimization and improved physics. Hopefully, this helps to create a more enjoyable multiplayer experience but I’m not hopeful.

Here is the complete patch notes in full:

  • General bug fixes for vehicles and physics improvements

  • Game modes balancing tweaks

  • HUD UI adjustments

  • Audio optimizations

  • General crash and stability fixes

  • Online traffic performance improvements

  • Various text fixes for all languages

  • General bug fixes for both Missions and Multiplayer

  • Legacy Controls should now work as intended

There’s no need to manually apply the update as it will automatically install via EA’s Origin client. I’d love to hear feedback on this particular update and if it makes the game more playable. I personally find it a repetitive mess which doesn’t reward good players. Furthermore, EA’s pricing with the digital deluxe edition and season pass leaves a lot to be desired.

Fallout 4 Beta Patch Now Available

Fallout 4 launched with more than a few bugs, although what game doesn’t these days! Bethesda has been working hard since the games release, tweaking and improving various aspects of the game and players will be pleased to hear that the first release is ready, well, almost. The first patch for Fallout 4 has been released in beta form, so keep in mind that there could even be bugs in the fixes.

Looking at the release notes, it all seems fairly straight forward, general memory and stability improvements, a few pesky bugs and minor tweaks. Overall, there’s very few fixes, but I’m sure some of you will be happy to see them regardless.

Here’s how to access the beta update:

  • Log into Steam
  • Right Click on Fallout 4 in your Library
  • Select Settings
  • Select Betas
  • A drop down menu will appear. Select Beta Update
  • Select OK.
  • Wait a few minutes and Fallout 4 should update.
  • When done, Fallout 4 should appear as Fallout 4 [beta] in your Library

Check out the full changelog below:

New Features

  • Number pad keys can now be used for remapping
  • Remapping Activate now works on Quick Container

Fixes

  • General memory and stability improvements
  • Fixed issue where equipped weapons become locked after completing Reunions
  • Fixed issue with When Freedom Calls where the quest would not complete
  • During Confidence Man, fixed issue where player’s health would continuously regenerate
  • Fixed crash related to jumping into water and reloading saved games
  • Fixed issue where Launcher would not save God Rays Quality setting properly

Are you having issues with Fallout 4? Let us know in the comments section below.

Konami Details November’s Metal Gear Online Patch

Konami has released the details of its upcoming patch for Metal Gear Online 1.01, which corrects issues with the auto-matching system, character movements, and revising the notoriously over-powered CQC (close-quarters combat) sprint technique.

The changelist is as follows:

[Auto-matching]
– You will now be matched with players of similar level to your highest character level.
– It is now less likely to join a host with poor network connection.

[Mission Adjustments]
– The game will now end once all teammates are stunned or tranquilized in CLOAK AND DAGGER.

[Loadout/Equipment Adjustments]
– The “E.LOCATOR” will now only available for the Scout class.
– Machines guns and launchers will now only be available for the Enforcer class.
– Shotguns will now only available for the Infiltrator class.
* As a result of these changes, custom loadouts will be initialized during the maintenance period following the update patch. 

[Character Ability Adjustments]
– Overall movement speed will be increased.
– Mobility has been re-balanced to allow faster travelling between objectives.
– Infiltrators will have health and stamina decreased.
– Enforcers will have health and stamina increased.
– Scouts will have health increased.
– Scouts will be able to mark targets more quickly while using binoculars.

[Weapon Adjustments]
– Firing sway for Machine Guns will be reduced.
– Weapon sway will be reduced overall when aiming in first-person view.
– Damage inflicted by the Walker Gear’s Gatling gun will be reduced.
– Walker Gears and Anti-Aircraft will now take more damage from certain weapons.
– Weapon damage of certain weapons are being adjusted for better balance.
– Damage value on the ISANDO RGL-220″ will be significantly reduced.
– Reduced ammo count on “ISANDO RGL-220” .
– Max carry for “E.LOCATOR,””STUN GRENADE,” and “SLEEP GRENADE” will be reduced.
– The throwing arch of the Empty Magazine will be invisible to enemies.
– The noise radius made by Empty Magazines when they land will be expanded.

[Item Adjustments]
– Max carry amount of “C.BOX” will be increased.

[Stealth Camo (STEALTH CAMO.PP) adjustments while using the STEALTH CAMO+ Ability]
– Stealth camo will be temporarily disabled when taking damage.
– Battery life will be reduced, and battery will take longer to charge.
– Marking time for cloaked players will be reduced.
– Cloaked players detected with NVG will be marked in standard marking time.

[CQC Adjustments]
– Range for CQC grabs will be narrowed.
– Icon for CQC grabs will no longer be displayed.
– Non-lethal damage done by CQC hits and grabs will be reduced.
– 1-hit CQC knock-outs will become exclusive to Infiltrators with “CQC STEALTH+” Lv.2 or higher.

[Fulton Adjustments]
– Fulton speed when using “FULTON+” Lv.2 or greater will be slowed.
– When a player fultons an enemy, the fulton balloon and the enemy will be invincible to other teammates.

[Buddy System Adjustments]
– Time required to establish a buddy link using the link action will be shortened.
– Link action will succeed regardless of the direction your character is facing, as long as you are in range. 
– The buddy gauge will now clear at the beginning of each round.

[Other Adjustments]
– Search filters in “SELECT MATCH” will be now saved.
– Countdown time on the Spawn screen has been extended from 10 seconds to 15 seconds.

Further changes can be expected before the November release of the Metal Gear Online 1.01 patch.

Image courtesy of PlayStation Lifestyle.

Monumental 15GB Patch Comes to PC Version of The Witcher 3

CD Projekt Red’s post-release schedule and commitment to providing the best service possible is admirable. Some of you might remember the mammoth update to The Witcher 2 via the Enhanced Edition patch. This was provided for free and dramatically enhanced the gameplay, performance and visual quality. Not to be outdone by last time, The Witcher 3 has just received an astonishing 15GB patch which features one of the most in-depth changelogs I’ve ever seen. While the list is extremely long, I’ve included every update in full to outline any key tweaks, you might find interesting or important:

QUEST

  • Adds new romance-related segments in conversations with Triss and Yen in quest titled The Sunstone.
  • Fixes infinite loading screen occuring after thrid gwent victory at Vegelbud Manor during quest titled A Matter of Life and Death.
  • Fixes issue whereby wraiths failed to spawn as intended during fight against botchling in quest titled Family Matters if Axii Sign was attempted and failed.
  • Fixes issue whereby messenger sent by witch hunters would be revived briefly after being killed during quest titled Count Reuven’s Treasure.
  • Fixes issue where messenger sent by witch hunters would stand idle instead of lying on floor as intended after scene during quest titled Count Reuven’s Treasure.
  • Fixes issue whereby quest titled Payback could not be completed if player first visited stable and found related key.
  • Fixes issue whereby Keira Metz failed encase herself in magic shield when attacked by rats in quest titled Wandering in the Dark.
  • Fixes issue whereby Ciri failed to follow Yennefer into laboratory during quest titled Child of the Elder Blood.
  • Fixes infinite loading screen occurring after horse race scene in quest titled Ciri’s Story: The Race.
  • Fixes issue whereby Keira Metz’s wraith during quest titled Wandering in the Dark dealt damage not commensurate with level classification.
  • Fixes issue whereby player could abandon designated game area of Tir na Lia in quest titled Through Time and Space.
  • Fixes prolonged loading screen occuring after cut scene in quest titled The Calm Before the Storm.
  • Fixes issue whereby door in quest titled Scavenger Hunt: Bear School Gear could be permanently locked if chest was looted before lever in throne room was pulled.
  • Fixes issue whereby Cleaver’s thugs could appear on second floor of Whoreson’s Casino during quest titled Get Junior though said thugs were not encountered outside as intended.
  • Fixes issue where, on higher diffculty settings, katakan monster in quest titled Now or Never healed too quickly.
  • Fixes issue whereby Geralt and Yennefer were teleported to different room in cut scene during quest titled Redania’s Most Wanted.
  • Fixes issue in New Game + mode whereby Dandelion dealt excessive damage during quest titled Cabaret.
  • Fixes issue whereby Sofus took 280 crowns instead of 140 if player agreed to fight during quest titled The Play’s the Thing.
  • Fixes issue whereby Geralt and Triss were teleported to different part of room after cut scene in quest titled Redania’s Most Wanted.
  • Fixes infinite loading screen occuring when catching Abbe Faria past tunnel and before ladder in quest titled The Great Escape.

PERFORMANCE

  • Decreases chance of unwarranted screen blur occurring during play.
  • Fixes rare infinite loading screen appearing upon loading of save made during Broken Flowers quest.
  • Fixes performance issues near the Cave of Dreams in Skellige.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled Practicum in Advanced Alchemy.
  • Improves general game performance in location Whoreson’s Arena in Novigrad during quest titled Get Junior.
  • Improves game performance throughout Swamps location in Velen.
  • Improves game performance when bombs are used, especially with Cluster Bomb skill active.
  • Improves game performance in areas with toxic clouds and when said clouds are ignited.
  • Improves game performance in Novigrad Bathouse, especially during quest titled Blindingly Obvious.
  • Improves overall game performance in Bald Mountain location.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled The Battle of Kaer Morhen.
  • Improves game performance in Kaer Trolde during quest titled King’s Gambit.
  • Improves game perfromance during quest titled Family Matters.
  • Improves game performance during burial and feast scenes in the quest titled The King is Dead – Long Live the King.
  • Improves game performance in Keira’s hut during quest titled Wandering in the Dark.
  • Improves game performance during ritual forming part of the quest titled Family Matters.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled Pyres of Novigrad.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled A Towerful of Mice.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled A Favor for a Friend.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled For the Advancement of Learning.
  • Improves game performance and stability on Fyke Island.
  • Improves game performance in scene featuring gwent croupier during quest titled A Matter of Life and Death.
  • Improves game performance on close-ups in conversation between Geralt and Whoreson Junior during quest titled Get Junior.
  • Improves game performance during combat in Ermion’s laboratory during quest titled The King is Dead – Long Live the King.
  • Improves game performance at site of cataclysm on Skellige during quest titled Echoes of the Past.
  • Improves game performance during necromancy ritual in quest titled Nameless.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled The Calm Before the Storm.
  • Improves game performance in Crookback Bog location.
  • Improves game perfromance on lifting of curses in quests titled Soldier Statuette and Nobleman Statuette.
  • Improves game performance in mountains surrounding Kaer Morhen.
  • Improves game performance during fight against Fugas in quest titled Bald Mountain.
  • Improves game performance for concert scene at Kingfisher Inn during quest titled Broken Flowers.
  • Improves game performance on Temple Isle in Novigrad at night and in rain.
  • Improves game performance in Dark Valley in quest titled Through Time and Space.
  • Improves game performance when using torch near bodies of water.
  • Improves game performance during conversation with Yennefer at Kaer Morhen.
  • Improves game performance during conversation with Eskel (katakan dissection sequence).
  • Improves game performance during quest titled Va Fail, Elaine.
  • Improves game performance upon ignition of explosive toxic clouds.
  • Improves game performance when using Northern Wind bomb with Cluster Bomb skill active.
  • Improves game performance when using Devils Puffball bomb with Cluster Bomb skill active.
  • Improves game performance when using Dragon’s Dream bomb with Cluster Bomb skill active.
  • Improves game performance following scene with Josta on Skellige.
  • Improves game performance in sauna pool during quest titled The Calm Before the Storm.
  • Improves game performance in selected Velen locations.
  • Improves game performance during quest titled Ciri’s Story: The King of the Wolves.

Once again I’m absolutely mesmerized by CD Projekt Red’s attention-to-detail and tireless work to improve an incredibly polished experience. The Witcher 3 is such a beautifully constructed, and well-optimized game yet receives better support than completely broken ports like Batman: Arkham Knight. If only other publishers acknowledged CD Projekt’s professional way to behave and started to prioritize post-release support over DLC or microtransactions.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

New ‘New Xbox Experience’ Patch Notes Revealed

The ‘New Xbox Experience’ for Xbox One, offering a redesigned user experience, is getting a new patch, which will be made available to select members of the Xbox Preview Program, eventually rolling out to all members, according to Mike Ybarra, the Director of Program Management for Xbox. The update (th2_xbox_rel_1510.151003-2016) fixes a number of reported problems, including issues with WiFi dropout when connecting an external hard drive and system update failures.

Thanks to reddit user pizzatarian, we have the full list of updates included with the new patch:

FIXES:

  • WiFi with External HD: Some users had reported WiFi would stop working with an external hard drive connected. This issue has been resolved.
  • System Update failing: Users reported slow or failing system updates will notice this issue is not present with this update.
  • Sign-in: Previously, international accounts may have had issues signing in. This has been resolved.
  • Upload Studio: A new version is available for New Xbox One Experience Preview members. This will update separately from the system update, and will be available after 6PM PT.
  • Performance and UI Improvements: Various performance and UI tweaks have been made in the update to fit and finish.

KNOWN ISSUES:

  • Please carefully review the known issues below for details on all currently known issues.
  • Remember to report any issues you discover via the Report a problem feature or in the forums!

FEATURED FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITIES:

We have seen great response to our new quests so far! If you are just joining the New Xbox One Experience Preview, or you haven’t taken them yet, be sure to give them a spin. Be sure to check out the Preview Dashboard app for more details on these quests:

  • Can You See It? This quest will ask you to try out the new guide and let us know if it appears properly on your TV.
  • OneGuide on NXOE: All about the new OneGuide area on the New Xbox One Experience Dashboard. Tell us what you think!
  • Quest available in the following locales: US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Brazil

KNOWN ISSUES:

General System Issues:

Black screen upon boot:

  • Your console may start up with just a black screen.
    • Workaround: Hard reset the console.

Sign in:

  • You may be unable to sign in to Xbox Live.
    • Workaround: Hard reset the console.

Snap Center:

  • When YouTube is snapped, it may share input with the home screen.

Voice Commands:

  • Global speech overlay is missing suggestions
  • Global speech overlay is missing contextual commands
  • Voice commands will not currently work for Guide tabs (Party, Messages, Friends, Notifications, etc)

HDMI-In:

  • You may experience a black screen when using a device via HDMI-in, even if this device is not a cable or set-top box.
    • Workaround: Run through the initial TV set-up and configure for a TV provider even if you don’t have a TV provider.

My Games & Apps:

  • My games & apps collection may crash if switching quickly between Apps and Queue or Games and Queue.

Automatic Downloads:

  • Content purchased from Xbox.com will not automatically download to the Xbox One console. This feature is planned to come later.

Notifications:

  • Friends may not receive game toast notifications.

Season passes:

  • In a small number of cases, users with season passes may find that they aren’t recognized by the game.
    • Workaround: Uninstall your other season passes and re-install the season pass you wish to use.

Community Twist:

  • Currently this area is not fully populated with content and is missing large sections of the user experience. Activity feed content also may not be actionable and items on the trending items second level screen have not been fully tuned. As Preview moves forward content and features in this area will light up.

Xbox One Media Remote:

  • When resuming from connected standby the Xbox One media remote may fail to send commands; a hard reset resolves this.
  • The buttons for media playback will not work (rewind, play, pause, fast forward, skip back, stop, skip forward). The directional and center “select” button will function as normal.

USB TV Tuner:

  • If you have a USB TV Tuner plugged into your Xbox One console, Windows and Windows Phone SmartGlass devices will crash when attempting to connect to the console. To avoid this, you can switch to the Xbox App on Windows 10 or reset your TV settings and avoid setting up the USB TV Tuner.

Racing Wheels:

  • Racing wheels cannot be used to navigate home or system dialogs.

Game and App Issues:

  • Titanfall: Titanfall may fail to connect to Xbox Live.
    • Workaround: Hard reset the console.

Skype:

  • Skype currently will not function if used in the background.

NFL Live App:

  • When playing videos in the NFL Live App, the screen may dim after a short period of time.

Apps not launching: Certain apps may fail to launch.

  • WWE
  • Showtime Anytime
  • Every Street United
  • Overdog
  • BlinkBox
  • TWC TV
  • Upload Studio
  • UPlay

Apps with video issues: The following apps will launch but videos or streams will not play.

  • SyFy
  • USA Now
  • Bravo Now
  • MLB

Games not launching: Certain games may fail to launch.

  • Xbox Fitness
  • Pinball FX2
  • The Crew
  • Monopoly

Live TV Issues:

Cable/Satellite STBs:

  • Cable/Satellite set top box compatibility is not yet at parity with the Xbox One Previous experience. Please continue to report video playback and audio issues using the Feedback app to help us improve the experience. HDMI troubleshooting steps:
    • Go Home and press the menu button on the OneGuide app to quit, then restart it.
    • Unplug and re-plug the HDMI-in cable from the Xbox, ensuring it’s seated securely in the port.
    • With the Xbox One turned on, pull the power cord on the cable/satellite box, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in.
    • Press and hold the power button on the front of the Xbox One to perform a hard reboot of the console.
  • Dolby Digital surround sound will not work for Live TV.
  • Favoriting is not currently supported for App channels.
  • The “Xbox Snap TV” voice command does not work. You can snap TV via voice command by saying “Xbox Snap OneGuide” or choosing OneGuide from the Snap Center.
  • The OneGuide pin doesn’t function. You can launch OneGuide using the app, voice commands, or from the OneGuide twist.
  • You may experience a stuck frame streaming TV to the Xbox App. You can enter OneGuide or resize your window to restore video playback.
  • The media transport controls do not work when streaming TV to SmartGlass and Xbox app clients.
  • When resuming from connected standby the Xbox One media remote may fail to send commands; a hard reset resolves this.
  • You may be unable to use voice commands to navigate in Live TV.

Xbox App/SmartGlass Issues

SmartGlass and Xbox App Live TV/OneGuide:

  • You may experience issues connecting to Live TV or OneGuide when connecting to the console with SmartGlass.
    • Workaround: Set your SmartGlass connection to auto connect, quit the app, and restart. If the issue persists, hard reset the console.

SmartGlass Functionality:

  • Basic SmartGlass functionality is now available including gamepad navigation, touch navigation, remote text entry, media playback control, and companions for apps and games. Other features such as two-finger touch panning, media companions, and power on/off will not function in this build.

The ‘New Xbox Experience’ patch will be included in the much-anticipated November update, bringing with it Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility.

Image courtesy of Polygon.

WinRAR at Risk of Huge New Zero Day Vulnerability

WinRAR has a base of some 500 million users worldwide, those same users might want to take a look at a new Zero Day Vulnerability which has been detected within the newest version of the software. According to Mohammad Reza Espargham, who is a security researcher at Vulnerability – Lab, the stable version of WinRAR 5.21 for Windows computers is vulnerable to a “remote code execution (RCE) flaw”. Let’s digest this flaw by breaking it down and having a closer look.

The vulnerability works by being implemented by an attacker with the aim of inserting a malicious HTML code inside the “Text to display in SFX window” section when the user is creating a new SFX file. Below is a video which conveys a test that proves the existence of this flaw, albeit in a controlled environment.

The annoying flaw with SFX files is they will start auto functioning the moment a user clicks on them, therefore, consumers cannot identify or verify if the compressed .exe file is a genuine WinRAR module or a malicious one. As of writing, there is yet to be a patch released for this flaw and Windows users are advised to refrain from clicking on any files from unknown sources. If you wish to protect yourself further, then by all means use an alternative archiving product or use strict authentication methods to secure your system.

The knock on effect of any exploit can be harmful to users, especially when a product has a consumer base which is substantial in size.

Thank you thehackernews for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of tecnoandroid