Evolution Studios Staff Join Codemasters

Driveclub, created by Evolution Studios is unquestionably one of the most visually stunning titles on the PlayStation 4. Sadly, the game’s development didn’t go as planned which eventually culminated in the PlayStation Plus version being cancelled. Despite being a visual showpiece, Driveclub’s reception on launch was fairly mixed due to the inconsistent AI and online modes. Unfortunately, Sony decided to close Evolution Studios and halt the company’s current development plans. Thankfully, the company’s talented employees have been hired by Codemasters who make the F1, DIRT and GRID games. Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier described the merger and said:

“The success of F1 2015 and DiRT Rally over the last 12 months has re-positioned the company for growth.  The addition of the Evolution team to our studio group will allow us to scale our business and strengthen our leadership as the world’s premier racing game developer.  I’m thrilled to have Mick Hocking join Codemasters as VP of Product Development. His experience in building AAA IP and leading great teams made him a natural choice to head the development of all of our products. I am equally thrilled to welcome his talented team to the Codemasters family and I look forward to the great games and brand new IP we will develop together.”

Mick Hocking will now take the role of VP Product Development at Codemasters and proclaimed:

“I’m delighted to be joining Codemasters at such an exciting time in the company’s growth. We have a shared passion for racing, a desire to innovate and a determination to create the best racing games and build the biggest racing community in the market. I’m very much looking forward to working with so many of the world’s greatest racing developers, on new IP as well as exciting franchises including DiRT, GRID, Micro Machines and the FORMULA ONE games.”

Yahoo Lost One-Third of Its Staff in 2015

Ailing multinational company Yahoo has lost over a third of its workforce over the last twelve months, in a shocking show of no-confidence in current CEO Marissa Mayer, according to a report in the New York Times.

“Basically, it shows employees losing faith in Marissa Mayer and Yahoo,” Scott Dobroski, spokesman for employment rating site Glassdoor, said.

While Mayer has fought hard to retain staff members that have been offered positions at competing companies with lucrative retention packages, the move has had the knock-on effect of causing resentment amongst colleagues who otherwise remained loyal when offered jobs elsewhere. Her strategy having backfired, Mayer is now pursuing mass layoffs, to be announced at the end of this month. Yahoo shareholders are desperate for Mayer to be fired before she can enact this plan.

“Only 34 percent of employees believe that Yahoo’s prospects are improving, according to surveys conducted by Glassdoor, a firm that collects data on jobs and employers,” the New York Times report reads. “That compares with 61 percent who are optimistic at Twitter, another troubled tech company, and 77 percent who see a bright future at Google, Ms. Mayer’s former employer.”

“One Yahoo employee who was interviewed said she was praying to be laid off so she could collect a severance payment and move on with her life,” the report continues. “Others said they were actively looking for their next jobs — a task made more difficult because of the taint of failure that potential employers sometimes associate with anyone at the struggling company.”

“We’re still hiring, and our application numbers are strong,” Yahoo said in a statement. The company refused to comment on staff morale.

Ambri’s Quest For a New Grid Battery Hits Problems

Rechargeable battery-based technology has steadily improved over recent years as demand has risen for lithium-ion based implementations, which include storing energy from intermittent renewable sources. The problem lies with the fore mentioned lithium based tech which are as yet both too expensive to run and also provide a shorter life span than desired for a wider scale role out of grid storage on an industrial scale.

This is where a start-up by the name of Ambri hoped to change that by committing resources with the aim of producing a new type of grid-scale battery. Unfortunately, Ambri has revealed disappointing test results for its novel technology which has led to the company axing one-quarter of its staff in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The start-up has also revealed plans to push back commercial deployment indefinitely.

Where did it all go wrong? The companies CEO, Phil Giudice explained that its down to the seals which keep Ambri’s liquid electrodes enclosed. “These liquid-metal batteries are housed inside steel cans that must be hermetically sealed with materials that hold up for many years”. Researchers have been working on this issue with the aim of developing the correct seals for the most part of this year (2015). However, after much tinkering it was concluded that current designs had failed to meet the correct performance standards which they are expected to achieve.

Ambri’s technology focuses on the usage of two liquid metals as electrodes; these are then separated by a liquid-salt electrolyte.

Another challenge which Ambri faces is the reality of challenging the market dominance of standard lithium-ion batteries, which have more or less taken over the market for electric vehicles and also for residential energy storage. These batteries continue to go up in performance and down in price, so much so that current market prices have dropped by half in the last few years. On top of this, there is also the view that “commercial and industrial use of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage could become economically viable in the next three to five years if the decline in battery prices persists.”

Ambri will need to perfect the technology behind this venture if it’s to challenge current tech at a comparable price point, if not then it will be a steep learning curve which could ultimately end in failure. I do feel there needs to be a more advanced battery power design which is kinder on the environment, after all, the huge quantities of materials and chemicals which are used to produce each battery and the disposal element all need to be factored in.

Thank you technologyreview for providing us with this information.

Union Says Amazon ‘Regime’ Making UK Staff Physically and Mentally Ill

Amazon – dismissive of recent criticism of the manner in which it treats its staff – is making its UK staff members physically and mentally ill, warns trade union GMB. British workers at Amazon’s factories are under pressure to be an “above-average Amazon robot”, according to Elly Baker, Lead Officer for Amazon’s union staff with GMB.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, following criticism of its staff treatment in a New York Times article, was moved to release a statement to employees defending its practices:

“[The NYT article] claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard […] I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market.”

The GMB, however, isn’t buying Bezos’ rhetoric, blaming the Amazon regime for breaking workers. “It’s hard, physical work,” said Baker, “but the constant stress of being monitored and never being able to drop below a certain level of performance is harsh. You can’t be a normal person. You have to be an above-average Amazon robot all the time.” Amazon employees have greater-than-average instances of musculoskeletal, stress, and anxiety problems. “We’re seeing this specifically because of the regimes they work under,” Baker added.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

Battlefield 4 Final Stand Revealed to Come with an Exploit to Catch Cheaters

DICE has recently revealed that the latest DLC for Battlefield 4, Final Stand, has an exploit intentionally left in the game by the development team. The company explained that they inserted the exploit in order to catch cheaters and proceed in banning them from the game.

“With Final Stand, we had that change in there, and there were a significant amount of players hit with the ban hammer, because they were using that cheat we knew about”. – DICE

It looks like DICE is experimenting with their own anti-cheat system in order to catch cheaters, having this be a test run for what’s to come. Though it revealed it to be very effective, “there are cheats out there that we don’t know about — we can’t find them all”. Battlefield 4 currently has two anti-cheat systems, PunkBuster and Fairfight. Despite the heavy anti-cheat protection, cheaters still manage to hide in the game.

DICE is said to also have a dedicated staff team members looking into the Battlelog, hoping to catch more cheaters and ban them in the near future.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Deuce Stated to be “Tennis Crossed with Street Fighter” Prototype Game

If you know and like Rust, the survival video game by Facepunch Studios, then you should know that its developer have just revealed a new game prototype by the name of Deuce, which is stated to have a tennis crossed with Street Fighter gameplay.

“Deuce is an arcade style tennis game with a focus on unique characters and courts,” stated programmer Ian James.

Facepunch Studios is said to be working on several projects similar to Deuce, such as the arcade space shooter game by the name of Riftlight.

“So far I’ve got four special moves working to some degree. These are: Ice (freezes opponent on returning the ball), Tornado (sends the ball flying in a random direction), Teleport (switches the ball position mid flight) and Fireball.”

A sneak peek at Deuce’s design shows a Mexican character in a sombrero or luchador mask and a hillbilly American with a shotgun. The developer states that each character is planned to have their own matching location, having only a tennis court surrounded by rusting trailers showed off so far.

Facepunch has also assured that Deuce’s announcement will have no negative impact on Rust’s development. Garry Newman, Facepunch’s boss, stated that only 5 out of Facepunch’s 25 staff members had been taken off Rust to work on ‘other things’.

A commenter has also asked if Garry’s Mod, Rust and Riftlight have been cancelled prior to Deuce’s announcement, where Newman reply the following: “And Half-Life 3 sorry”.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

American eTeknix News Writers Wanted

eTeknix are expanding at an even faster rate than before, and are having to increase our team even further due to the larger amounts of traffic, and the rate of content that we need to produce. We are looking for writers to keep our established site and readers up to date with the latest content from across the world.

Technology news writers are required to keep content flowing on eTeknix in a variety of areas including computers, media, consumer technology, mobile, communication, gaming, esports and much more. You will be responsible for researching and writing news articles that you believe will appeal to our readers. Each article will have to include high resolution images and will have to be factual and concise. We aim for articles to be of at least 350 words and to be of grammatical English with correct spelling and punctuation. The right candidate will be looking to create at least 5 articles a day, 7 days a week.

Examples of articles can be found here:

Skills required

  • English as first language
  • Good English skills (grammar, punctuation, spelling)
  • Experience with basic image editing software is desirable
  • Able to proofread your own work
  • A quick grasp of content management systems
  • Based in America (Ideally New York City) as you will be required to attend events
  • Previous news writing experience would be a bonus

While this job is not full-time, it’s up to the right candidates to be self-motivated and willing to work for the results. Simply put, the more you put in, the more you will take away

If you believe that this job role sounds right for you, then please send over a CV/Resume and any examples of your work to jobs@eteknix.com

This job vacancy is ongoing until the right candidates are found, but as eTeknix continues to grow, our team will grow too.