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Major ‘No Man’s Sky’ update arrives with a few surprises

That promised Foundation Update for No Man’s Sky? It’s already here for both PC and PS4… and it includes much, much more than Hello Games hinted at just a couple of days ago. The centerpiece remains base building, which turns out to be simple but helpful. If you find an uninhabited base, you can use modular structures to make it your own — including automated resource farming and storage so you don’t have to traipse across the planet harvesting items. You can also hire aliens to research technology, and teleport to and from space stations. And did we mention that you can buy freighters, which serve as spaceborne bases that you can summon anywhere in the galaxy? If you hated the forced mineral-gathering marches that you experienced on launch, you might be happy with this alone. Thankfully, there’s more.

The update also introduces Creative and Survival modes, in case you want to either remove restrictions or add an extra challenge on hostile worlds. You’ll see new biomes and star-specific resources, along with new equipment to collect rare goods. The interface has received a healthy makeover, too. There’s a smart quick access menu that helps you quickly switch to and interact with items (say, charging your mining beam). You can stack more items in a given inventory slot, get a clearer view of which minerals are nearby, quickly view your objectives and get a heads-up when pirates are nearby.

Visuals are also getting a boost: there’s both motion blur and temporal antialiasing options (at least on PCs), and lower-end PCs can enable texture streaming to lighten the burden on their systems. On the PS4, there’s a photo mode to preserve scenic views for posterity.

It’s too soon to say if the Foundation Update will please all the players upset that they didn’t get the game they expected. Base building and the Creative mode should eliminate some of the drudgery, but will they be enough? This is just the first of a string of promised upgrades, however, and it’s important enough that historically quiet company chief Sean Murray has stressed that it’s extremely “meaningful” for the team. If nothing else, it shows that Hello Games hasn’t been deaf to complaints — it just wanted to have an answer ready before it spoke up.

Via: Polygon

Source: Hello Games, Sean Murray (Twitter)

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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