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Clap Hanz Golf review – virtual golf that’s fun for everybody | Games

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It doesn’t matter whether you like the sport or not; golf video games are universally appealing. The objective is obvious, the basic act of hitting a ball is tactile and satisfying, and there’s a clear path to mastery as you learn conditions and make better shot choices. Clap Hanz, the Japanese developer behind this new Apple Arcade title, has been making PlayStation games called Everybody’s Golf for 20 years. You will either love the wacky presentation or hate it – it’s all horn-rimmed grandmas, emo kids and tourists with comically high waistlines – but if you accept the silliness on its own terms, it pays you back in spades.

Everybody’s Golf relied on well-timed button presses to execute a perfect swing, but the transition to iOS brings touch controls. When you’ve chosen your club and pointed where you want the ball to go, you draw your finger back and then jerk it forward in a straight line to let rip. When you whip your digit clear of the screen, they lean into the follow-through, and the pair of you stare ahead to see whether you hit straight and true.

Clap Hanz Golf ... the busy-looking interface gives you everything you need to play well.
The busy-looking interface gives you everything you need to play well … Clap Hanz Golf. Photograph: Clap Hanz

Your finger obscures the little meter that shows the ideal backswing length, which can be slightly awkward, but otherwise it works brilliantly. After each swing, the game shows the line you drew across the swing meter, indicating at a glance why your ball went flying off to the left and ended up in a sand trap. Over many rounds, you get much better at drawing that line dead straight. Putting relies on a time-honoured web of contour lines on the surface of the green.

Clap Hanz discovered how to make the act of swinging a digital club satisfying many years ago, but keeping it interesting over time is harder. The answer offered here lies in exuberant presentation and a fast-moving conveyor belt of small challenges, rather than lengthy 18-hole marathons. Rounds are parcelled into three- or six-hole competitions, and while there’s a lot of repetition of the same holes, your characters are levelling up each time you play, gaining yards on their swing and reducing their errors. This means you can try for longer drives and riskier routing through complex terrain to shave shots from your scorecard.

Clap Hanz Golf is the culmination of many years’ refinement: from the well-explained tutorials to the finely tuned rate of progression, playing it is like watching a master carpenter hammering out their 50th dining table. Unless you truly have had your fill of these games, this really is everybody’s golf.

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Power Capital takes majority interest in Terra Solar’s portfolio

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Terra Solar, a NovaUCD start-up founded in 2016, is giving up its sites in Wexford and Cork to Power Capital to develop solar farms.

Dublin-based company Power Capital Renewable Energy (PCRE) has announced plans to acquire majority interest in Terra Solar’s 400MW portfolio.

This will bring the company’s total solar assets to 840MW and boost its presence in the Irish solar power space.

A start-up that sprung out of NovaUCD, the University College Dublin accelerator, Terra Solar was founded by David Fewer and André Fernon in 2016. State-owned ESB was one of Terra Solar’s early investors, putting up €2.5m for a stake in the company.

Paris-based VC firm Omnes Capital will back the development of the solar sites over the next few years, which require around €200m to build out. Irish and international lenders will also back the development.

Power Capital director Peter Duff said that his company’s aim of becoming Ireland’s leading independent power producer has come a step closer with the deal.

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“Both Terra Solar and PCRE share common values and ambitions to help Ireland meet its 2030 targets and we are excited that Terra Solar chose us as a partner to bring these sites through construction,” he said.

The solar farm sites, located in Wexford and Cork, are a culmination of more than four years of engagement with local landowners, communities and planners, said Fewer.

“We will be retaining an equity stake in the developments and will be working intensively with all stakeholders over the coming few years to ensure that these sites are successfully constructed while equally continuing to grow our remaining development pipeline of 600MW.”

Justin Brown, co-founder of Power Capital, said that the company is currently in talks with other industry bodies about “increasing our foothold in the sector and we expect to see renewable energy being the dominant generator of electricity across Ireland within the next decade”.

Construction on the solar farms is set to begin in 2022 and the project is expected to be completed in the next five years.

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2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology

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The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

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With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register

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Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

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