Games Done Quick bans speedrunning cheater from future events

Games Done Quick has banned a speedrunner from future events after they admitted to cheating during last week's marathon. Russian player Mekarazium appeared to complete a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance expansion in a world record time. Instead of live gameplay, though, Mekarazium showed a pre-recorded video that was pieced together using parts of separate runs. They reacted to the footage in real-time to sell the ruse.

While Summer Games Done Quick took place as an in-person event for the first time since 2019, some speedrunners participated remotely. Mekazarium was one of those, which allowed them to cheat, as PCGamesN reports. The player initially sped through the main campaign of MGR: Revengeance in a seemingly legitimate run, before taking on the Blade Wolf DLC after a charity donation goal was met.

However, viewers noticed discrepancies in the Blade Wolf playthrough. Some noted there were barely any audible instances of Mekarazium pressing keys on the keyboard (which could be heard as he played the main game). At one point, Mekarazium lifts their right hand up while their character was looking around, though they claimed they controlled the mouse with their other hand.

Mekarazium also downplayed the record-breaking aspect of their run after the fact. You'd think a speedrunner would be delighted to beat their own world-best time by 25 seconds.

“The Blade Wolf DLC run incentive people paid for is a pre-recorded, segmented run,” Mekarazium told the GDQ enforcement team in a message obtained by PCGamesN. “It was supposed to be a real-time run, but I’ve changed my mind at the last second after switching the saves.”

Mekarazium said they wanted to show off the potential of the Blade Wolf run. However, they apologized and acknowledged they did "an actual bad thing." They worried about the impact on other speedrunners too. "I acted selfishly and I haven’t put more time thinking about others," they added.

“Yesterday, we were made aware that Mekazarium played a segmented video for his DLC run at Summer Games Done Quick 2022,” GDQ told Engadget in a statement. “Mekazarium has since admitted to this, both to some members of the community as well as directly to GDQ staff. He contacted our staff with a document detailing that he had planned this for over a month, demonstrating this was planned and intentional.

“This is absolutely unacceptable and attempts to undermine the integrity of the speedrunning community that we love and support," GDQ added. "The exact result they desired was unclear from the document, but it is clear that they believed we would not be willing to speak out about their behavior. However, we believe it is in the community’s best interests to know why this run was removed by GDQ. We have removed Mekazarium’s runs from our YouTube archive, and will not permit him to run in the future.”

The incident puts an unfortunate stain on another largely successful GDQ event. Speedrunners and viewers raised just over $3 million for Doctors Without Borders. There were some other hiccups, however. Some runs went longer than expected, which led to organizers cutting a couple of games from the schedule. However, they found room to add an extra Pokémon game on the final day in a bid to maximize donations.

Summer Games Done Quick 2022 raises $3 million for charity

In its first in-person event since 2020, GDQ’s Summer Games Done Quick 2022 raised more than $3.01 million for Doctors Without Borders. In all, some of the world’s best speedrunners descended on Bloomington, Minnesota to complete 134 different playthroughs of games like Doom Eternal, Tunic and Control. Across seven days of programming, Games Done Quick collected more than 42,000 individual donations.

And while the final tally fell short of the record-breaking $3.4 million the organization secured for the Prevent Cancer Foundation at Awesome Games Done Quick at the start of the year, it was more than the $2.9 million raised during SGDQ 2021. This year’s event saw the departure of Kasumi "Sumichu" Yogi. For the past eight years, Yogi has served as GDQ’s director of marketing and business development, helping the organization grow into the community cornerstone that it is today. Games Done Quick’s next fundraiser, the all-women Flame Fatales showcase, starts on August 21st, with proceeds from the event slated to go to the Malala Fund.

Summer Games Done Quick 2022 raises $3 million for charity

In its first in-person event since 2020, GDQ’s Summer Games Done Quick 2022 raised more than $3.01 million for Doctors Without Borders. In all, some of the world’s best speedrunners descended on Bloomington, Minnesota to complete 134 different playthroughs of games like Doom Eternal, Tunic and Control. Across seven days of programming, Games Done Quick collected more than 42,000 individual donations.

And while the final tally fell short of the record-breaking $3.4 million the organization secured for the Prevent Cancer Foundation at Awesome Games Done Quick at the start of the year, it was more than the $2.9 million raised during SGDQ 2021. This year’s event saw the departure of Kasumi "Sumichu" Yogi. For the past eight years, Yogi has served as GDQ’s director of marketing and business development, helping the organization grow into the community cornerstone that it is today. Games Done Quick’s next fundraiser, the all-women Flame Fatales showcase, starts on August 21st, with proceeds from the event slated to go to the Malala Fund.

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

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

Ducati’s first electric motorcycle is designed for MotoE racing

Ducati has unveiled not just its first electric motorcycle but a key piece in the 2023 season of MotoE e-motocycle racing, it announced. The V21L prototype has that classic Ducati look but is swathed in carbon fiber and packs a 150HP electric motor with a 18kWh battery. As detailed in an announcement last year, Ducati will be the exclusive supplier of all 18 bikes used for FIM MotoE World Cup racing from 2023-2026.

It weighs in at 225 kilograms (496 pounds), with just under half the weight for the battery — very heavy for a racing bike (143 pounds more than ICE models), but still 26 pounds under the MotoE specification for 2023. It's also 35 kg (77 pounds) less than the Energica e-motocycles currently used in MotoE racing. 

The V21L can be charged to 80 percent in just 45 minutes and has enough range to complete the required seven laps of key GP tracks. It has reportedly hit speeds of up to 171 MPH at the Mugello MotoGP Circuit in Tuscany. 

The e-motorbike is quite a bet by (and on) Ducati considering it's never done one before, but the company said it used its extensive racing experience to design the model. At the same time, it'll take racing lessons learned back to its consumer models. 

"At this moment, the most important challenges in this field remain those related to the size, weight, autonomy of the batteries and the availability of the charging networks," said Ducati R&D director Vincenzo De Silva in a statement. "Helping the company's internal expertise to grow is already essential today to be ready when the time comes to put the first street electric Ducati into production."

Ducati’s first electric motorcycle is designed for MotoE racing

Ducati has unveiled not just its first electric motorcycle but a key piece in the 2023 season of MotoE e-motocycle racing, it announced. The V21L prototype has that classic Ducati look but is swathed in carbon fiber and packs a 150HP electric motor with a 18kWh battery. As detailed in an announcement last year, Ducati will be the exclusive supplier of all 18 bikes used for FIM MotoE World Cup racing from 2023-2026.

It weighs in at 225 kilograms (496 pounds), with just under half the weight for the battery — very heavy for a racing bike (143 pounds more than ICE models), but still 26 pounds under the MotoE specification for 2023. It's also 35 kg (77 pounds) less than the Energica e-motocycles currently used in MotoE racing. 

The V21L can be charged to 80 percent in just 45 minutes and has enough range to complete the required seven laps of key GP tracks. It has reportedly hit speeds of up to 171 MPH at the Mugello MotoGP Circuit in Tuscany. 

The e-motorbike is quite a bet by (and on) Ducati considering it's never done one before, but the company said it used its extensive racing experience to design the model. At the same time, it'll take racing lessons learned back to its consumer models. 

"At this moment, the most important challenges in this field remain those related to the size, weight, autonomy of the batteries and the availability of the charging networks," said Ducati R&D director Vincenzo De Silva in a statement. "Helping the company's internal expertise to grow is already essential today to be ready when the time comes to put the first street electric Ducati into production."

Major League Baseball wants to deploy strike zone robo-umpires in 2024

Major League Baseball will "likely" introduce an Automated Strike Zone System starting in 2024, commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN. The so-called robot umpires may call all balls and strikes then relay the information to a plate umpire, or be part of a replay review system that allows managers to challenge calls. "We have an automated strike zone system that works," Manfred said. 

The comments come in the wake of fan outrage over umpire's missed calls in recent games, including a brutal low strike error during a Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins tilt. "Enough is enough. Give me robo umps already," tweeted Grand Rapids ABC sports director Jamal Spencer. 

MLB has been experimenting with robo umps in minor league Atlantic Triple-A league since 2019. It uses a doppler radar system developed by TrackMan, best known for its golf speed measurement devices. The system works thusly, according to CBS: "Pitch gets thrown, TrackMan tracks and identifies the pitch's location, phone tells umpire whether it's a ball or strike, umpire physically makes the call behind the plate." 

In fairness to umpires, calling balls and strikes with 100 MPH fastballs and hard-breaking curveballs caught outside the zone is no easy feat. But that's exactly why fans, pundits and the league itself thinks that machines should take the job, leaving the plate umpire to judge tags and other more subjective plays. Mechanical systems also made Atlantic league games mercifully shorter by a full nine minutes, according to MLB data. 

Under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, the league has the right to change rules unilaterally, provided it gives the union a season's notice. Manfred already said that such a system wouldn't be brought in next year, as the new competition committee won't have its first meeting until 2023. Once it does meet, though, the committee is very likely to approve the changes since it's dominated by ownership, according to ESPN

Major League Baseball wants to deploy strike zone robo-umpires in 2024

Major League Baseball will "likely" introduce an Automated Strike Zone System starting in 2024, commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN. The so-called robot umpires may call all balls and strikes then relay the information to a plate umpire, or be part of a replay review system that allows managers to challenge calls. "We have an automated strike zone system that works," Manfred said. 

The comments come in the wake of fan outrage over umpire's missed calls in recent games, including a brutal low strike error during a Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins tilt. "Enough is enough. Give me robo umps already," tweeted Grand Rapids ABC sports director Jamal Spencer. 

MLB has been experimenting with robo umps in minor league Atlantic Triple-A league since 2019. It uses a doppler radar system developed by TrackMan, best known for its golf speed measurement devices. The system works thusly, according to CBS: "Pitch gets thrown, TrackMan tracks and identifies the pitch's location, phone tells umpire whether it's a ball or strike, umpire physically makes the call behind the plate." 

In fairness to umpires, calling balls and strikes with 100 MPH fastballs and hard-breaking curveballs caught outside the zone is no easy feat. But that's exactly why fans, pundits and the league itself thinks that machines should take the job, leaving the plate umpire to judge tags and other more subjective plays. Mechanical systems also made Atlantic league games mercifully shorter by a full nine minutes, according to MLB data. 

Under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, the league has the right to change rules unilaterally, provided it gives the union a season's notice. Manfred already said that such a system wouldn't be brought in next year, as the new competition committee won't have its first meeting until 2023. Once it does meet, though, the committee is very likely to approve the changes since it's dominated by ownership, according to ESPN

Formula E’s Gen3 car will make its race debut on January 14th

Formula E’s Gen3 all-electric car will make its race debut on January 14th, 2023 in Mexico City. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) announced the date on Wednesday and shared the preliminary schedule for Formula E’s upcoming ninth season.

Before the official start of the competition in January, teams will have three days in December to test their new ride in Valencia, Spain. With today’s preliminary schedule, Formula E plans to host 18 races across 13 cities. That’s two more contests and three more stops than its 2022 slate. What’s more, for the first time, the Formula E circuit will visit Hyderabad in India and São Paulo, Brazil.

If you take a look at the schedule, you’ll notice a few gaps. Most notably, Formula E has yet to announce a New York City date. A spokesperson told Engadget the organization is working to organize races in South Africa and the US.

Season 9
Formula E

"New York has been the home of Formula E in the USA since Season 3, with the exception of the Covid-hit Season 6 in 2020, and has delivered some epic races in front of full grandstands,” said Formula E chief championship officer Alberto Longo. “Major construction work in the Brooklyn area will make it a challenge to use the current track layout next year which is why we have not announced a specific date on the provisional Season 9 calendar. However, we will continue to work closely with our local partners in Brooklyn to explore solutions for racing in New York next season.”

Next year’s racing debut of the Gen3 is exciting for a couple of reasons. Not only is the car faster than its predecessor, but Formula E also designed it to be more agile. That’s something that should lead to more wheel-to-wheel dueling between drivers, and make the resulting races more entertaining.