CryEngine-Based SNOW Has Entered Open Beta

Just in case you’re not already aware, Poppermost Productions has been working on a brand new open world, winter sports game named SNOW, which has recently entered a free-to-play open beta phase on the PC platform. SNOW was created using CryEngine, and it now features free-roam multiplayer as well as competitive events, leaderboards and a large mountain that includes 20 areas just waiting to be discovered. As you can probably imagine, being a free-to-play game, the developers are relying on cosmetic item stores as a way to make a profit, but it’s also worth mentioning that players will be able to purchase access to premium events that offer unique rewards.

Right now, the team is working on implementing snowboarding and snowmobiles into the game, which will be unveiled soon enough in the Open Beta. From what I’ve seen so far, the game certainly needs some more work as far as animations and physics are concerned, but I’m confident that things will improve over time. The CEO over at Poppermost, Alexander Bergendahl, has stated the following:

“Open beta is a huge leap forward in fulfilling SNOW’s promise of a fun and authentic sporting and exploration experience that’s totally yours to do with as you please, alone or with friends. Now the lifts are open to the whole world. Winter is finally here!”

You can try out SNOW on Steam right now.

The US Snowfall Captured Through a Lense

The recent US snowfall has absolutely hammered the East Coast of America in terms of size and ferocity which has led to the cancellations of thousands of flights as well as leaving tens of thousands without power, below is a selection of stats which conveys the extent of this force of nature.

  • 40 inches of snow – Has been recorded in Glengary, West Virginia; 39 inches fell in Philomont, Virginia; and Redhouse, Maryland, received 38 inches.
  • 11 states declared states of emergency – Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. Washington, D.C., has declared a “snow emergency.
  • 8,569 flights – Have been cancelled for Saturday and Sunday
  • More than 74,000 people – Without power.

Below is a selection of beautiful, fantastic yet thought-provoking images that conveys just how disruptive this storm has been for residents as well as the country as a whole.

Below is the first image of “Henry Street in the Chinatown neighbourhood of New York”, as you can see, this bustling street has rather ground to a halt.

Next Image below is of a “snowball fight at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC”, this image has been captured in pretty good detail.

The next image below conveys a gentleman by the name of “John Mexner who tries to make headway by shoveling  his vehicle out in Washington”. The morning commute looks rather in vain after the size of disruption from the storm.  

The next image below certainly conveys the amount of snow that has been dumped on the US, the gentleman within the photo is “Ben Osborn who walks with a shovel past a line of snowed-in cars in northeast Washington”, each car looks similar to a giant snowball.

The next image below is beautifully shot and conveys an individual who is producing a “snow angel in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C”, the blueness of the sky is a striking contrast to both the memorial and also the snow.

The last image is certainly thought-provoking and shows “Gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia”  being almost completely hidden from snow.

The last image may not be relevant to the US, but it is certainly stunning, it conveys a frozen mast within Fujian Jiuxian China, wow.

Image courtesy of BBC

Breathtaking Images From an Astronaut Aboard the ISS

Space has always provided a glimpse into many a fascinating world over the years, from research that has been undertaken by NASA to the Astronauts who have boarded the International Space Station as well as successfully landing on the moon. One such Astronaut, Scott Kelly, has been posting breathtaking images on social media that have included Twitter (1,158 photos and counting) and Instagram (684 posts and counting) during his yearlong visit to the ISS, below is a snapshot of these images.

The first image represents the massive blizzard passing over Chicago on Saturday 23rd January 2016, the image looks awe-inspiring.

The next image below is of what is known as “thundersnow” from the blizzard and was captured, again, on the 23rd January 2016.

The next image below, wow, is of an aurora and was captured on the 27th August 2015, this looks akin to a science fiction film.

The next image below is of Spain, well, more specifically Barcelona and was captured on the 28th July 2015, this is both a stunning and a detailed image.

The next image below is the Astronauts latest Twitter post as of writing (26th January 2016) and has the caption “Day 304. That’s 4,864 orbits a’round’ our beautiful planet #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace”, it is certainly a brilliant image.

The last image is of Scott Kelly undertaking a Q&A on Reddit from space, well, yes, as you do, this image was posted on the 23rd January 2016

Ford Test Autonomous Car in Snow

Autonomous cars have come a long way in recent times, with some even being considered safer than human drivers. But now Ford have decided to try out their autonomous car in snow, which can even cause trouble for experienced human drivers.

Ford’s self-driving car makes use of a technology they have termed “snowtonomy”, which integrates high definition maps to allow the car to fill in the gaps that its sensors cannot see due to the adverse weather.

The car employs the standard array of laser-imagine LIDAR sensors that it is equipped with in order to build the most accurate picture of the current location as possible. It then matches this 3D image against the stored maps in order to maintain the car’s position on the road. According to Ford, this system is accurate enough for the car to be able to stay in lane, even when road markings are obscured by snow.

The testing ground for this technology has been Mcity, an artificial city created by the University of Michigan, specifically for testing autonomous cars. This has allowed Ford to gain a lot of experience with self-driving cars in adverse conditions such as rain and snow.

Technologies like Ford’s “snowtonomy” really show that companies out there are bringing their self-driving systems to the next level. Driving in straight lines in perfect conditions is hardly a challenge for today’s self-driving technology, but for autonomous cars to truly displace the human driver, they will have to be able to adapt to all conditions, be it visibility impairing or a lack of grip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vShi-xx6ze8

Drone Captures Amazing Footage of Frozen Niagara Falls

Drones are becoming increasingly popular these days. From recreational use to delivery services, it seems everyone wants to buzz around the skies with a quadcopter. One new place they’re seeing use is for news programmes, so it’s no surprise that NBC News took the opportunity to fly a drone above the frozen abyss that is currently Niagara Falls.

The long-lasting low temperatures across certain parts of the United States have meant record snowfalls and very little thawing out. It’s thanks to this that the famous falls have turned into something reminiscent of Antartica; it’s a scene only a drone could capture.

Source: NBC News Via: Gizmodo

The Robots Are Coming For Us… By Ski

After they’ve conquered walking, running and stair climbing (sort of), the robots have one more way to get around once they’ve overrun the human race – by ski.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba in Canada have created Jennifer – the snow-friendly robot. She has mastered cross-country and alpine skiing, with the ability to cross a number of snow types, including firm, wet and fluffy snow. Jennifer can also turn left and right, as well as come to a stop when she’s sliding down a hill at speed.

Despite no longer being able to hide from the robots in what we thought were remote snowy mountains, Jennifer is actually quite a feat of engineering, being certainly much better at skiing than myself.

Source: Gizmodo

Poppermost Free-To-Play “SNOW” Heading To Gamescom For Closed Door Demos

Independent developer Poppermost Productions will be at Gamescom to showcase SNOW, the first free-to-play, open-world winter sports game that gives players the chance to freely explore a massive mountain environment on skis or snowboard – alone or with friends.

Competitive players may take part in solo or multiplayer events and challenges all over the mountain to unlock special items and earn a place on global leaderboards. Throughout it all, players can customize their character through SNOW’s in-game store, with access to entire catalogues of over a dozen real-world brands. With the game set for an Alpha release later this year, Poppermost will be demoing the game behind closed doors for preview purposes.

In addition to demonstrating the latest progress with the game, Poppermost will also delve deeper into their work with Crytek and CryENGINE 3 as an indie developer. Poppermost, which consists of a three-man team, will also provide unique insights into the challenges of bringing their open world game to life.

In addition, what is typically associated with big publisher-driven titles, Poppermost has been able to cross industry lines to partner with the biggest winter sports athletes and brands.

Poppermost will be at Gamescom from Wednesday August 21st and will be available to meet by request.

Thank you Poppermost for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Poppermost.