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In Sons Of The Forest, Everybody Loves Kelvin – Kotaku

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Where Skyrim had Lydia, the latest big Steam survival hit—Sons of the Forest—has Kelvin. He’s there to help, no matter how much his ears bleed, and people absolutely love the adorable, lobotomized handyman.

In Sons of the Forest, the new Early Access sequel to the enormously popular The Forest, you play the survivor of a helicopter crash, stranded on a peculiar island inhabited by cannibal mutants. However, this time you’re not the only fully human survivor—when you wake up from the opening sequence, you’re accompanied by Kelvin. Deaf and mute, and seemingly significantly more inhibited than that, we know his name because it’s on his badge. But beyond that, Kelvin is a mystery.

Blood drips from both of his ears, suggesting something very bad happened to our poor buddy while you were out cold, but whatever it was, it’s left him very eager to help. With puppy-like enthusiasm, Kelvin will fetch you sticks and rocks, build crude shelters and fires, and most importantly, follow you to the very ends of the Earth, no matter how long it might take him.

In this way, Kelvin is enormously reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s initial companion character, Lydia. Except Lydia’s lobotomy is only assumed, an inevitability of that decade-old RPG’s hilariously abysmal AI, whereas Kelvin…well, Kelvin has those bleeding ears.

He can be very useful! Gathering wood and stones isn’t a big deal in Sons of the Forest, but it’s busywork that distracts from the more fun tasks of building larger structures, or just exploring the weird island’s myriad secrets. Having him light a fire is also super-helpful if you’re off hunting squirrels, meaning there’s somewhere to cook the meat once you’ve gathered your haul. He can even go catch fish for you, even where there are no fish. But how helpful is he overall? Well, Kelvin tries hard.

Kelvin relaxes by the fire.

In my time with Kelvin, he’s set himself and the surrounding area on fire so many times, each time with the most endearing look of complete shocked naivety on his face. It’s this combination of enthusiastic innocence and frequent incompetence that is making the NPC so popular among players, and leading to some excellent #content™.

Setting himself on fire is a common theme, but he can also reach the opposite extreme, merrily walking around at the bottom of lakes with no apparent need for air.

Kelvin also loves to destroy, which is certainly upsetting a fair few folk.

However, I don’t think there’s a better example of Kelvin’s demolition than this one on Reddit. Poor Kelvin. He’s trying so hard!

Then again, things often go wrong for the poor fellow too.

Many players are declaring their love for Kelvin, which I think perhaps is revealing a little bit more about themselves than perhaps they realize. (“My ideal person is lobotomized and crudely attempts to follow all my commands.”)

It turns out it’s possible to clone Kelvin, allowing you to have as many of him as you like. And each can be given separate instructions, allowing you an entire Kelvin workforce busily carrying out your bidding!

Oh, and if you accidentally kill your Kelvin (because you’d never do it on purpose, right?), there is actually a way to bring him back.

So please, tell us your Kelvin stories. If you’ve played the game, you surely have some.

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The biggest announcements from Epic Games’ State of Unreal 2023 keynote

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a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

Epic Games has just wrapped its State of Unreal 2023 keynote, where it showed off new enhancements coming to Unreal Engine 5.2, stunning new MetaHuman technology, a big push to unify its disparate assets marketplaces, and Fortnite’s long-awaited Unreal Editor tools. Given the popularity of Unreal Engine and Fortnite, the day’s announcements could have a major impact on the games we play in the future.

Here are the biggest announcements from the show.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Epic showed off a stunning, foliage-filled Unreal Engine 5.2 demo

 

One of Unreal Engine 5.2’s biggest additions is new procedural generation tools, which Epic showed off in a gorgeous “Electric Dreams” demo that took place in a dense, foliage-filled forest partially created with those tools. (It also stars a Rivian truck.) You can catch the demo early in Epic’s keynote, and the first preview of Unreal Engine 5.2 will be available today.

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a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>You’ll soon be able to animate MetaHumans using an iPhone

A screenshot of Senua from the Hellblade series.

A screenshot of Senua from the Hellblade series.

 

a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: Epic Games

Epic showed off a jaw-dropping demo of MetaHuman animation captured with just an iPhone. The tool is set to launch this summer.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Epic finally showed off Fortnite’s Unreal Editor

A world made using Unreal Editor for Fortnite.

A world made using Unreal Editor for Fortnite.

 

a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: Epic Games

We finally got a look at Epic’s new Unreal Editor for Fortnite, which will give creators a bunch of new tools to create custom Fortnite maps and experiences. In a demo, the company showed off some bright Fortnite characters in a gritty, distinctly non-Fortnite-y world.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Epic’s new “Creator Economy 2.0” gives 40 percent of Fortnite’s net revenues back to creators

An illustration of Fortnite chracters.

An illustration of Fortnite chracters.

 

a:hover]:text-black [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-e9 dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-13 dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63″>Read the story this image is from right here.a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Illustration: Jarett Sitter / The Verge

Epic announced a major change to the way creators can make money from Fortnite, promising that 40 percent of the game’s net revenues will be put back into a pool for creators. Interestingly, that pool includes Epic itself.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Epic is merging its asset marketplaces under one brand, Fab

The Fab logo.

The Fab logo.

 

a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: Epic Games

Later this year, Unreal Engine Marketplace, Quixel Bridge, ArtStation Marketplace, and Sketchfab will all be merged into one marketplace, Fab. You can actually check out the marketplace a bit sooner than that, though, as an alpha plug-in for the Unreal Editor for Fortnite.

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Google’s new Bard chatbot told an AI expert it was trained using Gmail data. The company says that’s inaccurate and Bard ‘will make mistakes.’

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Google’s rollout of its new AI chatbot, Bard, has hit some early snags.Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Google Bard started rolling out this week, and it’s off to a bit of a rocky start.
  • The AI chatbot told one user that it was trained on data from Gmail, among other sources.
  • Google later said this was inaccurate, noting that Bard is an “early experiment” that “will make mistakes.”

Google Bard began rolling out to some users this week, and it’s already hit a few snags.

AI expert Kate Crawford posted an exchange she had with the new AI chatbot in which she asks where Bard’s training dataset comes from.

In her screenshot of the conversation, Bard responds that its dataset “comes from a variety of sources,” one of which is “Google’s internal data,” including data from Gmail.

“Anyone a little concerned that Bard is saying its training dataset includes… Gmail? I’m assuming that’s flat out wrong, otherwise Google is crossing some serious legal boundaries,” Crawford wrote.

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A few hours later, Google tried to set the record straight.

“Bard is an early experiment based on Large Language Models and will make mistakes. It is not trained on Gmail data,” the company said in a tweet.

In a separate response that has since been deleted, Google also said, “No private data will be used during Barbs [sic] training process.”

In Bard’s initial response to Crawford, the chatbot said it was also trained using “datasets of text and code from the web, such as Wikipedia, GitHub, and Stack Overflow,” as well as data from companies that “partnered with Google to provide data for Bard’s training.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has instructed employees to anticipate errors as people begin using Bard.

“As more people start to use Bard and test its capabilities, they’ll surprise us. Things will go wrong,” he wrote in an email to staff on Tuesday, published by CNBC.

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£12999 Trance Advanced E+ Elite 0 is Giant’s lightest ever eMTB

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The Trance Advanced E+ Elite 0 is Giant’s lightest electric mountain bike yet, weighing a claimed 18.8kg for a size-medium bike.

The bike uses Giant’s new SyncDrive Pro 2 electric bike motor system, which was developed in conjunction with Yamaha.

The electric mountain bike also uses the new EnergyPak Smart 400 battery. This is built around higher-density batteries and was developed in conjunction with Panasonic.

The new Trance also features (slightly) updated geometry, an adjustable one-piece cockpit and new motor controls.

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The Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite is launching alongside the unisex Trance Advanced E+ Elite. This is the brand’s first carbon electric trail bike

In keeping with Liv’s design ethos, the bike feature’s women’s-specific geometry. Liv is the last major manufacturer that still manufactures separate unisex and women’s frames.

The Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite range starts at £5,499 for a Deore-equipped bike.

The top-spec Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0 comes with Fox Live Valve, a full SRAM Eagle X01 AXS drivetrain, Zipp 3Zero Moto wheels, Quarq Tyrewiz pressure sensors and full-carbon everything. It will set you back £12,999.

No international pricing was available at the time of writing.

A lighter and more powerful motor, plus new battery tech

The bikes are based around a new motor. Giant

The Giant Trance X Advance E+ is powered by a new battery pack developed in conjunction with Panasonic. This is based on 22700 cells.

According to Giant, 22700 cells are lighter and more energy dense than cells typically used in electric bike battery packs.

The batteries also “stay cooler, which means less stress on the system and a longer total lifecycle”, says Giant.

The bike ships with a new smart charger. Giant says this stays in constant communication with the battery pack, extending battery life.

The charger can be used to charge the battery up to 60 per cent – the ideal charge level for long-term storage, according to Giant.

The bike is built around Giant’s new SyncDrive Pro 2 motor. As with the brand’s previous motors, this has been developed in collaboration with Yamaha.

This is Giant’s most powerful motor to date, delivering up to 85Nm of torque and up to 400 per cent support.

It is claimed to be lighter at 2.7kg (Giant has not supplied savings figures) and quieter than the previous-generation motor.

The motor control is integrated into the top tube. Giant

The bike’s Smart Assist mode can control the motor automatically via six sensors.

As with most motors, the system’s behaviours can be customised in a companion app.

Adjustments available in the app include Launch Control (this adjusts how quickly torque from the motor kicks in), assistance support level and more.

Giant notes these adjustments can be made to any existing or future bike fitted with the SyncDrive Pro 2 motor.

The system’s controls are integrated into the top tube of the bike, with a supplementary control integrated into the grips.

Suspension and geometry

The bike’s geometry has been updated, but only a little. Giant

All bikes in the Trance Advanced E+ Elite 0 range are built around a mullet wheel setup.

The bike is designed to run a 150mm-travel fork and has 140mm of rear-wheel travel. This is controlled by Giant’s long-standing Maestro suspension system.

The geometry of the bike has also been updated, but only slightly.

The previous-generation bike used 29er wheels front and rear. The adoption of a 27.5in rear wheel on the new bike means chainstay length has shrunk significantly to 447mm on all sizes of the new bike (down from 473mm).

Reach, stack, head angle and seat angle all remain unchanged.

The geometry of the women’s-specific bike is broadly similar to the unisex bike. Liv

A flip chip enables riders to switch between high and low positions.

The stack and reach of the women’s-specific models is different, but all other figures remain the same.

2023 Giant Trance Advanced E+ Elite geometry table

2023 Liv Intrigue Advanced E+ Elite geometry table

An adjustable… one-piece cockpit?

Top-spec bikes get a new one-piece cockpit. Giant

The bike features Giant’s all-new Contact SLR Trail one-piece cockpit.

Unlike the majority of one-piece cockpits, the stack and angle of the bars can be adjusted.

A series of specially moulded spacers sit beneath the stem. These adjust the stack and rotation of the bars.

The top cap for the stem features swappable inserts to fit bike computers, lights or other accessories.

Spacers are used to adjust the angle and stack of the cockpit. Giant

The cockpit has a claimed weight of 255g in an unspecified width.

Giant claims this presents a 30 per cent reduction versus a regular two-piece carbon cockpit, and a 40 per cent reduction versus a two-piece alloy cockpit.

The bars are also claimed to offer 16 per cent more vertical compliance than a Contact SLR Trail carbon handlebar.

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