01 Jul 2022

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FIFA OKs sensor ball and semi-automatic offside tracking for the 2022 World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2022 will feature an updated VAR (video assistant referee) system known as semi-automated offside technology, the international soccer governing body announced today. SAOT will replace the old (and still controversial) VAR system that FIFA first debuted at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The new system features 12 stadium cameras that will track the positioning of both the ball and each individual player, including 29 different data points on each player's limbs and extremities. On top of that, a ball outfitted with a motion sensor will be used in each match, which will deliver live data on a player's position at the time it's kicked.

FIFA believes that SOAT will help match officials make faster and more accurate decisions on offside calls. "VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced. We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further," said FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina in a statement.

According to ESPN, the new system should cut the average time it takes to make a VAR offside decision from 70 seconds to 25 seconds. The old VAR system required manually drawing offside lines and calculating the kick point. FIFA officials claim that SOAT will automatically select both the offside line and kick point in seconds, using both data from the ball and limb-tracking data from the cameras. Human officials will then manually confirm each decision. After each decision is reached, a 3D animation will be displayed to spectators that visualizes the offside decision.

While it may seem risky to debut a completely new virtual referee system at a global event like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a more basic version of SOAT went through trial runs at last year's Arab Cup in Qatar and this year's FIFA Club World Cup. You can watch a demonstration of SOAT here.

01 Jul 2022 9:30pm GMT

A 'Doom' mobile game from 2005 is now playable on Windows

A dedicated group of fans has excavated a Doom mobile game from the sands of time and made it playable again. You won't find 2005's Doom RPG on the App Store or Play Store: it actually predates iOS and Android by a couple of years. And while Fountainhead Entertainment looked into bringing Doom RPG to Nintendo DS around the time of its original release, the game was exclusively available on Java- and BREW-compatible handsets. Until now.

A small group of developers in Costa Rica going by the name of GEC.inc reverse engineered Doom RPG and got it to work on Windows. Although the port is free to download, it doesn't contain any of the original files you need to actually run the game.

Doom RPG at last, finally on PC as promised years ago come true today. You can play it now, download link from Doomworld : https://t.co/5mLMVPvOPipic.twitter.com/tUSP5q44IU

- GEC.inc (@inc_gec) June 29, 2022

As Ars Technica points out, you'd technically need to have the game installed on a compatible, still-working phone that might be old enough to vote if it were a person. You'd also have to find a way to extract the game files from said device and convert them. On the other hand, you may be able to find Doom RPG by alternate means. You'll still have to convert the files to make the game work, but that seems to be an easy process.

Doom RPG has clear ties to the rest of the series. John Carmack, the lead programmer of the original Doom, was the game director. The game features the protagonist of the first three Doom titles (dubbed "Doomguy" by fans). But instead of rampaging through levels and mowing down monsters in real-time, Doom RPG adopted a turn-based format.

It's always great to see enthusiasts finding ways to preserve games, especially a relatively obscure one that's part of such a famous series. Perhaps for their next trick, the folks at GEC.inc will revive Doom RPG II. Although you can still buy that game from the App Store, it's not compatible with recent versions of iOS. According to the store listing, however, it will run on a Mac running macOS 11.0 or later as long as it has an M1 chip.

01 Jul 2022 8:30pm GMT

FCC clears SpaceX to put its Starlink satellite WiFi in vehicles

SpaceX's satellite internet service is officially going mobile after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday authorized the company to provide its Starlink WiFi service to vehicles. SpaceX already offers Starlink home internet, which left beta last October.

"We agree with SpaceX... that the public interest would benefit by granting with conditions their applications," The FCC wrote in its authorization letter. "Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX's satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight."

Starlink had already begun expanding its terrestrial footprint, even before the FCC decision, installing receiver dishes at Tesla Supercharger stations, raising prices and unveiling a $500/month Premium service tier. SpaceX has also recently announced partnerships with Delta and Hawaiian Airlines to potentially offer the service aboard their aircraft.

SpaceX, and CEO Elon Musk, have also played the hero in recent months by offering an "internet bridge" to volcano-devastated Tonga and providing Starlink terminals to the Ukraine government - a generous offer that was, like most of Musk's ventures, footed by the American taxpayer. The internet service - more specifically, the massive constellation of microsatellites in Low Earth Orbit that enable it - has also drawn condemnation from astronomers worldwide who argue that the highly-reflective satellites, of which there currently more than 2,200 in orbit and which Musk wants 40,000 more of, are grossly interfering with the operation of ground-based telescopes.

01 Jul 2022 7:46pm GMT