This week, get your sci-fi and fantasy book fill with online TorCon 2020, Hilton’s smartphone app gives you control over your stay, Tony Hawk Pro Skater games are getting remastered, and free-to-play Dauntless is getting a new expansion. But first, a new hand gesture has been developed to be used by victims of domestic violence.
Canadian Women’s Foundation creates hand gesture as alert to domestic violence
One of the dangerous consequences of sheltering and isolating at home for some people is that it increases the risk of violence occurring to them there.
In an effort to help women who are threatened by gender-based violence, the Canadian Women’s Foundation created a simple hand signal that can be used to ask for help. The idea is that it could be discretely shown while on a video call with someone.
Accompanying the video that demonstrates how to form the signal are ways that people can safely check in with people in abusive relationships.
The campaign has since been adopted by dozens of other organizations including the Women’s Funding Network in the U.S.
TorCon 2020 an online celebration of sci-fi and fantasy authors
It’s another virtual fan convention, but this time focusing on books and authors, including conversations between Christopher Paolini and Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, and Cory Doctorow and Nnedi Okorafor.
There’s also a group viewing of Night of the Living Dead, the classic George Romero, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Daniel Kraus, who co-wrote with Romero, The Living Dead, a new book set in the same world.
These events are all free, but you have to register for them in advance.
Hilton’s smartphone app give you independent control over your hotel stay
When I was last travelling for work – way back in early March – I stayed in two Hilton hotels, which gave me the chance to try out the company’s smartphone app
I loved it then, and in this new world of physical distancing, it’s even more outstanding.
It works a lot like airline apps. The day before I arrived I was able to check in to my hotel room and even select the specific room I wanted.
So when I arrived at the hotel, I didn’t even need to talk to anyone at the front desk. I just went to my room and used the app to unlock my door.
That same app allowed me to unlock the fitness centre door, the side doors where the more convenient parking was located, and everywhere else I needed to access.
And when it was time to leave, I used the app to check out.
It is the kind of easy convenience that will be essential for hotels in this new world.
Legendary Tony Hawk video games are getting remastered
Skateboarding exploded as a sport and an activity in the nineties and Tony Hawk was one of the most recognizable names and personalities. That’s one reason why he was the name attached to the video games developed by Neversoft and published by Activision.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games were acclaimed by critics and fans, and are so beloved to this day that gamers have kept the titles alive with an online reconstruction called THUG Pro.
Activision’s licensing deal with Tony Hawk ended in 2015, but the company still has rights to the Pro Skater property, and in May revealed that the first two games in the franchise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 (1999 and 2000), are being fully remastered – in 4k – and released as a single package for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.
The game will include online and local multiplayer and the Create-a-Park and Create-a-Skater modes. The complete roster of skaters who were included in the original games are back, and many of them are also appearing with their current looks.
Because Tony Hawk is now 52.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 will be released on September 4, 2020. Anyone preordering the digital version of the game gets access to the Warehouse demo.
Summer expansion brings more depth to free-to-play Dauntless
Tomorrow, a big expansion will be released for Dauntless, a video game developed at Vancouver’s Phoenix Labs.
The free-to-play game turns players into hunters, tracking and taking down massive creatures called Behemoths. Like similar action role-playing games such as Destiny and The Division, Dauntless leverages the online space to connect players, letting them do things together that they couldn’t do alone.
Available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Windows (through the Epic Games Store), and Xbox One, Dauntless is also fully cross-platform, so you can play with friends regardless of what system they’re on. And you can progress your characters through the game on different platforms, too, playing on the go with your Switch and picking up on your Windows box when you get home.
Call of the Void, releasing on June 11, introduces a new Behemoth called Thrax and also a new approach to the narrative of the world. The game takes place in the Shattered Isles, floating segments of land that encircle a planet that cracked open, and where the story has always been present in Dauntless, it’s been static. With the new expansion, things that happen will impact the world permanently.
That adds to the stories that players have been creating and telling themselves within the game. Each player’s character becomes an extension of themselves, with armour and weapons that they prefer.
Another mode coming with Call of the Void is Training Island, where players can go to try out different weapons and practice their moves. It’s an essential addition that makes it easier for new players to get comfortable with the fighting mechanics, and provides enough information on attack and combos that seasoned hunters can refine their fighting tactics. The training arena will also become a place where veterans can mentor rookies, which is important for the overall longevity of the game.
One of the most exhilarating aspects of Dauntless are the Escalations, where teams of players face a series of Behemoth battles that increase in danger and intensity, complicated by hazards and mutations. Call of the Void brings a new Escalation called Umbral, which culminates in a battle against the Behemoth, Thrax. Defeating it will leave hunters with powerful legendary weapons.