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SA game lands on Steam

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A South African-designed computer game, Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale, has launched on Steam.

The game is available for $9.99 or R109.00 (or equivalent local pricing), and has launched with a 10% discount. Among the Innocent has launched on Steam with a full suite of achievements, trading cards, badges, and emoticons.

Among the Innocent is also available DRM-free on the Humble Store for $9.99 (currently discounted by 10% to match the Steam launch special). The Humble version includes all the current features and fixes available in the Steam version.

“Due to some technical issues, we’ve had to hold back the Mac version of Among the Innocent for the time being,” says the developer, Geoff Burrows. “It’s at the top of our list of priorities right now, so please bear with us while we work out a few final kinks in the Mac build. We’ll send out a notification to let everyone know the Mac version is live.”

About Among the Innocent

Among the Innocent is a first-person thriller adventure game that takes place on an abandoned farm in the eastern Free State, South Africa. Players take on the role of struggling writer Peter York who finds himself trapped in the area. In your bid for freedom, you’ll need to keep your wits together as you explore the bleak landscape and uncover (and maybe even solve) the many mysteries that lie in dark corners.

Among the Innocent is the first of five games, together The Stricken Tales, which will form an expansive narrative across multiple decades, characters, and stories both individual and connected. Each game is inspired by a stage in the Kübler-Ross model for dealing with grief and loss, and will challenge players in unique ways while retaining a core of classic adventure gaming and dark aesthetics.

About Zero Degrees Games

An Independent game development studio, Zero Degrees Games was founded in mid-2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, by Geoff Burrows, former editor of NAG Magazine. Among the Innocent is our first commercial release. While Geoff operates as the sole full-time developer, artist, writer, and designer on Among the Innocent, several friends and family members rallied to assist with development and production tasks, including the production of an original musical score for the game.

* The game is is available to purchase here.

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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