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      Yes, you can play Starfield on Steam Deck, but really, you shouldn’t / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 20:09

    Character in Starfield addressing the player head-on

    Enlarge / Playing Starfield on the Steam Deck does not feel like reveling in mankind's great capacity for wonder and discovery. (credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

    Starfield , Bethesda's epic planet-hopping first-person RPG , is now widely available, and that includes on handheld gaming PCs. Both Valve's Steam Deck and the Asus ROG Ally picked up recent system updates that made it possible to play the game without crashes.

    I can confirm the game runs on both systems, having experienced early access crashes and now a bit of normal gameplay today. But I don't think there's much point to playing locally on either system. Streaming remotely with Game Pass, or locally with Moonlight or Xbox Remote Play , is a better option, presuming you can do so without much input lag.

    If you do try to force Starfield to load on your handheld, the graphics and frame rates will range from muddy to just acceptable, the battery life will be quite bad, and your experience with perhaps the best part of Bethesda RPGs—the sense of wonder and discovery in wide-open spaces—will be severely limited.

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      “Gaming Chromebooks” with Nvidia GPUs apparently killed with little fanfare / ArsTechnica · Friday, 18 August - 17:08 · 1 minute

    Asus' Chromebook Flip CX5 was one of the streaming-oriented gaming Chromebooks announced late last year.

    Enlarge / Asus' Chromebook Flip CX5 was one of the streaming-oriented gaming Chromebooks announced late last year. (credit: Asus)

    Google and some of its Chromebook partners decided to try making " gaming Chromebooks " a thing late last year. These machines included some gaming laptop features like configurable RGB keyboards and high refresh rate screens, but because they still used integrated GPUs, they were meant mostly for use with streaming services like Nvidia's GeForce Now and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming .

    But there were also apparently plans for some gaming Chromebooks with the power to play more games locally. Earlier this year, 9to5Google spotted developer comments earlier this year pointing to a Chromebook board (codenamed Hades) that would have included a dedicated GeForce RTX 4050 GPU like the one found in some Windows gaming notebooks. This board would have served as a foundation that multiple PC makers could have used to build Chromebooks.

    But these models apparently won't be seeing the light of day anytime soon. Developer comments spotted by About Chromebooks this week indicate that the Hades board (plus a couple of other Nvidia-equipped boards, Agah and Herobrine) has been canceled, which means that any laptops based on that board won't be happening.

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      Getting AAA games working in Linux sometimes requires concealing your GPU / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 9 August - 17:57 · 1 minute

    Hogwarts Legacy screenshot

    Enlarge / There are some energies you should not tap for sorcery, something both Hogwarts students and Hogwarts Legacy installs running under Linux should know. (credit: Warner Bros. Games)

    Linux gaming's march toward being a real, actual thing has taken serious strides lately , due in large part to Valve's Proton-powered Steam Play efforts . Being Linux, there are still some quirks to figure out. One of them involves games trying to make use of Intel's upscaling tools.

    Intel's ARC series GPUs are interesting , in many senses of the word. They offer the best implementation of Intel's image reconstruction system, XeSS, similar to Nvidia's DLSS and AMD's FSR. XeSS, like its counterparts, utilizes machine learning to fill in the pixel gaps on anti-aliased objects and scenes. The results are sometimes clear, sometimes a bit fuzzy if you pay close attention. In our review of Intel's A770 and A750 GPUs in late 2022, we noted that cross-compatibility between all three systems could be in the works.

    That kind of easy-swap function is not the case when a game is running on a customized version of the WINE Windows-on-Linux, translating Direct3D graphics calls to Vulkan and prodding to see whether it, too, can make use of Intel's graphics boost. As noted by Phoronix , Intel developers contributing to the open source Mesa graphics project added the ability to hide an Intel GPU from the Vulkan Linux driver.

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      Apple has a Proton-like Game Porting Toolkit for getting Windows games on Mac / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 7 June - 16:29

    Apple screenshot showing diagnosing a game

    Enlarge / Apple's demonstration of loading and inspecting the performance of The Medium on a Mac. (credit: Apple)

    There was so much packed into Apple's WWDC presentation Monday that it's hard to believe there are still major pieces of it left to uncover. And yet, as part of a developer presentation, Apple has quietly announced what could be major news for PC games on Mac hardware—its own SteamOS-like Windows compatibility initiative, but for millions of Apple Silicon Macs instead of Steam Decks.

    " Bring your game to Mac " is laid out over three videos covering a game controller guide , a Game Porting Toolkit (Apple developers only), and a converter for making games' shaders work with Apple's Metal hardware acceleration API. Apple claims you "have everything you need to deliver an amazing gaming experience" with Apple-Silicon-based Macs and that its toolkit provides "an emulation environment to run your existing, unmodified Windows game."

    "It doesn't take months to get a sense of how your game looks, sounds, and plays," Aiswariya Sreenivassan, technical project manager at Apple, says in the video's introduction. "You see your game's potential right away."

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      Proton update gets 18 more Windows games running on Linux, including Chex Quest HD / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 18 April, 2023 - 16:20

    The modern remake of an infamous <em>Doom</em> clone, <em>Chex Quest HD</em> is now playable on the Steam Deck and other modern Linux PCs.

    Enlarge / The modern remake of an infamous Doom clone, Chex Quest HD is now playable on the Steam Deck and other modern Linux PCs. (credit: General Mills)

    To play Windows-compatible games in its Linux-based operating system, the Steam Deck relies on a compatibility layer called Proton. It's a collection of different technologies, including the venerable Wine software and software that translates Windows-native Direct3D API calls into Vulkan API calls that Linux can handle.

    Proton is continually updated to fix rendering bugs in specific games and to add new games to the compatibility list; version 8.0 was released yesterday and added support for 18 new games (and fixes rendering bugs in tons of others). Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais called the release "our biggest rebase to date."

    The new compatibility list includes a few of the big, recognizable titles you'd expect Valve to prioritize, including the 2023 re-release of Dead Space and Square Enix's Forspoken . But there is one oddball game that stood out to me: Chex Quest HD , the remastered version of a 1996 CD-ROM game that was included for free in boxes of Chex cereal for six weeks in the mid-'90s.

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      Proton’s mass radius is apparently shorter than its charge radius / ArsTechnica · Monday, 3 April, 2023 - 20:30 · 1 minute

    Image of large collection of buildings.

    Enlarge / The Jefferson Lab particle accelerator, where the work took place. Electrons in the oval at top center are sent to different underground target rooms (circles at lower right). (credit: Jefferson Lab )

    If you ask how much an object like a bicycle weighs, there's a simple answer. But if you ask where the mass of a bicycle is, things get more complex. The bike has a lot of parts—some of which move—that all have different volumes, shapes, and densities, so its mass is distributed irregularly around its form.

    To an extent, this is similar to the question of where the mass of a proton is. The proton is a collection of quarks and gluons moving at relativistic speeds around a central point. Figuring out where its mass lives would be difficult even without the fact that the analogy with bicycles completely falls apart due to one awkward fact: A proton weighs much more than its component quarks, and the gluons that hold the quarks together are massless. In fact, the mass of the particles involved is somewhat irrelevant. "If you do calculations where you set the quark mass to zero, the proton is pretty much the same thing," physicist Sylvester Johannes Joosten told Ars.

    Instead, much of the proton's mass comes from the incredibly high energy density created by the gluons' strong force interactions. So, to understand the mass of a proton, we have to understand what its gluons are up to. Which, given that they're massless and have no charge, is extremely difficult to do. But some experimental work has created a value for the proton's mass radius, which describes the distribution of mass within the particle. And it turns out the value is significantly different from the proton's charge radius.

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      Proton Calendar rounds out security-focused Big Tech alternative on iOS / ArsTechnica · Friday, 2 December, 2022 - 15:35

    Proton Calendar's iOS app aims to offer most of the same niceties as other calendar apps, but with more peace of mind about your data.

    Enlarge / Proton Calendar's iOS app aims to offer most of the same niceties as other calendar apps, but with more peace of mind about your data. (credit: Proton)

    Proton Calendar, which claims to be the "world's only" calendar using end-to-end encryption and cryptographic verification, has arrived on iOS , giving those seeking a more secure work suite an alternative to Google, Apple, and the like.

    Proton Calendar is pitched as offering encryption for all event details, as well as "high-performance elliptic curve cryptography (ECC Curve25519)" to lock it. The web app version of Proton Calendar is open source , with the code for mobile apps to come next, Proton says. Proton also notes that it never finds out who you've invited to an event, and it allows for inviting people outside the Proton ecosystem, letting people "cryptographically verify that it was you who invited them."

    Andy Yen, CEO of Proton, said in an interview with Wired in May that calendars are an "extremely sensitive" record of your life and that protecting them is essential. Encryption protects your calendar data from government requests, data leaks, or "a change in business model of your cloud provider."

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      iOS VPNs have leaked traffic for more than 2 years, researcher claims / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 17 August, 2022 - 16:32

    iOS VPNs have leaked traffic for more than 2 years, researcher claims

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    A security researcher says that Apple's iOS devices don't fully route all network traffic through VPNs, a potential security issue the device maker has known about for years.

    Michael Horowitz, a longtime computer security blogger and researcher, puts it plainly—if contentiously—in a continually updated blog post . "VPNs on iOS are broken," he says.

    Any third-party VPN seems to work at first, giving the device a new IP address, DNS servers, and a tunnel for new traffic, Horowitz writes. But sessions and connections established before a VPN is activated do not terminate and, in Horowitz's findings with advanced router logging, can still send data outside the VPN tunnel while it's active.

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      This is What Firefox’s New ‘Proton’ Redesign Looks Like on Ubuntu / OMG Ubuntu · Tuesday, 9 February, 2021 - 00:56

    Mozilla Firefox Logo A new look is coming to Mozilla Firefox — yes, another one — and in this post we show you what it currently looks like on Ubuntu, and share detail on how to try it […]

    This post, This is What Firefox’s New ‘Proton’ Redesign Looks Like on Ubuntu is from OMG! Ubuntu! . Do not reproduce elsewhere without permission.