Tag Archives: ‘Implosion

After Telltale’s Implosion, The Walking Dead: The Final Season Returns

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After the awful demise of Telltale Games last year, the majority of the staff was left out in the cold, and the fate of the current season of The Walking Dead was up in the air. Many months later, this last season is back on track at a different company, and some ex-Telltalers are ready to finish what they started. Episode 3: Broken Toys will launch on January 15th on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

When the closure announcement was made in September, only a single episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season had been released. The second episode had been completed before the team was tossed out, but there was a chance that the remaining two episodes would never see the light of day. And since some of us had already paid for the entire season, that was more than a little concerning.

Thankfully, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Games was able to acquire the tools, assets, and rights to finish the last two episodes of the season. Even better, some of the game’s original developers were able to land jobs on this new team. The story that started nearly seven years ago will get to be wrapped up properly instead of being left to flap in the breeze.

Our sister site IGN has been particularly critical of the first two episodes with one earning an Okay 6.5/10 and the other receiving a Mediocre 5/10. Reviewer Cassidee Moser simply isn’t much of a fan of this season – citing a dull plot and a formulaic structure.

However, the metascore for the first episode on PC is 76/100, and the second episode is sitting at 69/100. Outlets like Gaming Age and DualShockers were much more positive overall. It seems that those reviewers resonated much more with the suspenseful aspects, so it’s hard to assemble much of a real critical consensus.

I’ve played Telltale’s Walking Dead games over the better part of the 2010s, and I ended up enjoying the first half of the Final Season much more than I anticipated. After Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman left to form Campo Santo, the series fell into a kind of slump, but the phrase “Return to form” is a go-to when describing the tail end of Telltale’s output. Sadly, it makes me yearn for what might have been.

However, it’s worth clarifying here that the wellbeing of the employees impacted by the Telltale debacle is far more important than the continuation of this episodic video game. It’s nice that Skybound is able to make good on the rest of the season, but we should never lose track of how devastating it has been for the staff to abruptly lose their income and their medical coverage. Hopefully, the industry takes steps to ensure more protections for workers in the years ahead.

[Image credit: Telltale/Skybound]

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MIT’s ‘Implosion Fabrication’ Shrinks Objects to Create Nanoscale Versions

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The smaller you want something to be, the harder it is to build. This is the barrier holding back many technologies from batteries to optics, but a new technique developed at MIT could make nanoscale materials easier to produce by shrinking larger designs. The approach uses a type of absorbent scaffold to produce 3D structures 1,000 times smaller than the original.

Thus far, techniques to create tiny 3D structures were both painfully slow and limited in complexity. Most involve using 2D nanostructures etched onto a surface and adding successive layers until you get the desired 3D shape. It’s basically very slow 3D printing. Some methods exist to speed up small-scale 3D printing, but they only work with certain like specialized polymers that won’t work for many applications. The technology from MIT is unique because it should work with almost anything — metal, polymers, and even DNA.

The technology borrows from an established imaging technique called expansion microscopy; it’s just running in reverse. In expansion microscopy, tissues are embedded in hydrogel and then expanded to get high-resolution scans. The team found they could create large-scale objects in expanded hydrogels, and then shrink them to nanoscale. They call it “implosion fabrication.”

The process starts with a scaffold composed of an absorbent material called polyacrylate. A solution of fluorescein molecules is allowed to infiltrate the polyacrylate. These act like signposts on the scaffold (see below) when exposed to laser light. That allows researchers to attach molecules at any point they want. The molecules can be anything like a gold nanoparticle or a quantum dot.

Everything is still “big” at that point — on the scale of millimeters instead of nanometers. To shrink the construction to the desired size, researchers add acid to the solution. That eliminates the negative charges in the polyacrylate gel, causing it to contract. That drags the molecules along with it, resulting in a 10-fold reduction of length in each dimension for a total 1,000-fold drop in volume.

With current laboratory techniques, the team can take an object with a volume of 1 cubic millimeter with a resolution of 50 nanometers. For larger objects of about 1 cubic centimeter, they can hit a resolution of 500 nanometers. That limit could come down with additional refinements. The team is looking at ways to use this technique to create improved lens optics and nanoscale robotics.

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