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The Case for Carbon Seize and Sequestration (CCS)

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Visitor “choosing a battle with each side” by David Middleton

JUL 15, 2019
EPA Drilling Laws Stay Underrated Impediment to Fixing International Warming

William Murray
Supervisor, Power

Assembly the targets of the 2015 Paris Settlement to restrict international warming shall be unattainable until america leads the way in which.

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What stays is CCS expertise, which the oil and gasoline trade has used to reinforce the restoration of oil for the previous practically 50 years. Annually, this expertise already traps greater than 60 million tons of carbon dioxide completely underground, stopping it from coming into the environment and contributing to international temperature will increase. Congress has incentivized industrial corporations to put money into this sort of CCS expertise by tax breaks, however corporations nonetheless are operating into issues. Of paramount concern is the Environmental Safety Company’s oversight of the well-drilling that’s the vital prerequisite for storing CO2 underground.

The Environmental Safety Company (EPA) has oversight authority over the Protected Consuming Water Act’s guidelines that shield the nation’s 151,000 public water methods. On the whole, this oversight works fairly effectively, allowing 1000’s of business wells to be drilled yearly with just about no harm to underground sources of ingesting water.

In 2010, the EPA created a brand new class of drilling class particularly for geologic storage of CO2 on the presumption that there can be demand for the expertise. As an alternative of streamlining the follow, nonetheless, the EPA created overly prescriptive guidelines, onerous reporting necessities, and unintended legal responsibility points — all of which have led to pricey lag occasions in venture growth. In practically a decade because the EPA initiated these Class VI permits, fewer than 10 have been licensed, although tax breaks have been alleged to decrease the funding threat for corporations.

In 2011, Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland utilized for an EPA effectively allow to put 1 million tons of carbon dioxide into an underground saline aquifer. However the newness of the permit-type, mixed with disagreements over long-term legal responsibility points, meant the venture took roughly six years to finalize. The Illinois venture stays the one main try to sequester carbon deep underground; two different efforts in Montana and Kansas have been derailed resulting from allow points.


Within the decade-plus since passage of the fracking exemption, U.S. oil and gasoline manufacturing has exploded effectively past what was initially thought attainable — from 5 million barrels a day to virtually 13 million barrels a day — whereas the nation may grow to be a web exporter of crude oil and oil merchandise by 2020. In the meantime, the enhance in pure gasoline manufacturing has displaced coal use for electrical energy, inflicting U.S. emissions to fall greater than 10 p.c from their peak in 2005.

Below the precise circumstances, an identical change can happen in carbon seize and storage.


R Avenue

Irony may be so ironic… EPA rules designed to facilitate carbon seize and sequestration (CCS) are literally inhibiting CCS tasks.

R Avenue?

R Avenue is principally a RINO suppose tank; former South Carolina Consultant Bob Inglis is on their Board of Administrators.

R Avenue is partly good…

R Avenue is a free-market suppose tank with a realistic strategy to public coverage challenges. We draw inspiration from such thinkers as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ronald H. Coase, James M. Buchanan and Arthur C. Pigou.

We favor client alternative; low, flat taxes; regulation that’s clear and utilized equitably and methods that depend on worth indicators fairly than central planning. Thus, it’s honest to say we’re on the political proper.

Determine 1. Milton Friedman rocks!!! Effectively… rocked when he was alive.

Partly dangerous…

On the similar time, we acknowledge that public items, pure monopolies and externalities are actual considerations that governments should handle.

A lot for being impressed by Milton Friedman.

Partly type of real looking…

We additionally perceive that life in a democratic society typically means reaching a compromise that doesn’t essentially symbolize a primary, greatest answer.

We provide analysis and evaluation that advance the targets of a extra market-oriented society and an efficient, environment friendly authorities, with the complete realization that progress on the bottom tends to be made one inch at a time. In different phrases, we search for free-market victories on the margin.

R Avenue

Determine 2. Typically said as, “Don’t let the right grow to be the enemy of the great.”

R Avenue’s power “skilled,” William Murray is the previous editor of RealClearPolitics‘ power web page, “has a bachelor’s diploma in American and British literature from Whitman School and grasp’s levels in journalism and safety research from Columbia and Georgetown College, respectively.”

Firstly, you need to filter out all the alarmist nonsense. “Fixing international warming” shouldn’t be an pressing matter. It’s not even one thing that may be “solved.” Mr. Murray shouldn’t be a scientist, definitely not a geologist… Neither is he an power trade skilled. Like many of the R Avenue RINO’s, he seems to completely purchase into the “local weather disaster” horst schist. However he does have some extent about CCS.

Secondly, for any of this to make sense, you need to settle for the actual likelihood that every doubling of atmospheric CO2 will increase the majority temperature of the environment by anyplace from zero.5 to 1.5 °C and fast rise of atmospheric CO2 past 1,000 ppmv may yield some unpredictable adjustments in marine geochemistry. Clearly a doubling of the assumed pre-industrial CO2 focus of 280 ppmv, won’t result in a local weather disaster, disaster or emergency… However, may a tripling or quadrupling of that 280 ppmv pose a possible drawback in a few hundred years? Perhaps.

If you happen to settle for these parameters of what could grow to be considerably of an issue over the subsequent few hundred years, carbon seize and sequestration (CCS) is a logical a part of the answer… Notably since it may be carried out slowly.

It’s a fossil fueled world!

Determine three. It’s a fossil fueled world. (BP Statistical Evaluate of World Power)

It’s a fossil fueled world and that’s not going to considerably change over the subsequent 50 years, not even when little Greta stomps her toes and holds her breath till she’s blue within the face.

Determine four. Gasoline will proceed to kick @$$… Sorry Greta. (EIA AEO 2019)

You possibly can really get there from right here: Drill, child, drill!

This paper from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) web site is a wonderful abstract of CCS and CCSU, when you get previous the usual recitation of IPCC horst schist.

Carbon Seize and Sequestration
Michael Sheppard


Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

In all instances the place fossil fuels are the supply of power, CO2 is inevitably produced; if we’re to forestall this CO2reaching the environment, CCS shall be completely important. CCS lends itself most readily to functions during which energy is produced centrally (as within the case of coal-powered electrical energy stations). CO2 may be stripped from power-station emissions by a variety of means, and these captured emissions may be compressed, transported, and saved.


The volumes of CO2 that must be handled, nonetheless, are massive. Emissions of CO2 presently run at over 30 billion tons a yr, and sequestering only a tenth of this may entail pumping about 75 million barrels of supercritical CO2per day into geological formations. On the stage of a person energy plant, sequestering CO2 from a 500-MW coal-fired energy station would require pumping round 75,000 B/D1 of supercritical CO2 into an appropriate formation.

The experience and the applied sciences wanted to sequester such volumes exist already to a big diploma throughout the oil and gasoline trade. A number of demonstrations of CO2 sequestration already are underway, together with the In Salah saline formation venture in Algeria (Riddiford et al. 2004) and the Sleipner venture within the Norwegian North Sea.


Society of Petroleum Engineers

Determine 5. Placing it again within the floor. (Society of Petroleum Engineers)

EOR: The win-win side

Enhanced Oil Restoration Utilizing CO2
CO2 is already pumped into oil reservoirs for enhanced oil restoration (EOR), though many of the CO2 presently used for EOR comes from pure sources, and current EOR practices usually are not carried out with a view to storing CO2. Nevertheless, it might be attainable to change CO2 EOR to emphasise CO2 storage whereas on the similar time bettering oil restoration. Though CO2 EOR wouldn’t present lodging for greater than a really small fraction of the amount of CO2 presently emitted, it does present a laboratory for applied sciences required for routine sequestration that’s pushed by the business incentive to enhance restoration of the oil from older reservoirs. Furthermore, in a world the place CO2 is way more readily and cheaply out there, there shall be an incentive to make use of CO2 earlier within the oil-recovery stage to raised exploit dwindling sources.

Society of Petroleum Engineers

At present, about 300,000 bbl/d of US oil manufacturing is because of CO2 enhanced oil restoration (EOR). As not too long ago as EIA’s 2014 Annual Power Outlook, this was projected to considerably enhance resulting from excessive oil costs.

Determine 6. Placing it again within the floor to get extra oil out of the bottom. (US EIA)

The US Division of Rick Perry, I imply Power, estimates that CO2 EOR may get well about 85 billion barrels of oil from current U.S. oil fields:

Determine 7. Don’t depart it within the floor! Make room for extra CO2! (US DOE) Determine eight. It’s only a matter of economics. (US DOE)

How can we all know it should work safely?

That is what CO2 EOR has safely carried out since 1972:

Found in 1948, the SACROC unit is likely one of the largest and oldest oil fields in america utilizing carbon dioxide flooding expertise. The sector is comprised of roughly 50,000 acres positioned within the Permian Basin in Scurry County, Texas. Kinder Morgan owns an approximate 97 p.c working curiosity in SACROC and has expanded the event of the carbon dioxide venture initiated by earlier homeowners and elevated manufacturing during the last a number of years.

In 2016, SACROC produced roughly 29,300 barrels of oil per day, and NGL manufacturing averaged roughly 20,900 barrels per day. Kinder Morgan continues to successfully develop this mature area by progressive use of seismic knowledge, lateral drilling and superior conformance strategies.

Kinder Morgan

Since 1972, over 175 million metric tons of CO2 have been injected into the SACROC reservoir; there has by no means been any proof of leakage.

SACROC was found in 1948. When the injection started, whole restoration was lower than 20% of the unique oil in place (OOIP). The CO2 EOR has led to almost a 50% restoration of the OOIP and the sector continues to be going sturdy.

Determine 9. With over 50% of the OOIP recovered, SACROC continues to be producing virtually 30,000 bbl of oil and 21,000 bbl of pure gasoline liquids per day.

Are there hazards?

There are at all times drilling hazards and these are similar to these of drilling oil & gasoline wells and working wastewater injection wells.

CO2 injection wells can expertise effectively management incidents (kicks, blowouts, and so on.), in a lot the identical method as oil & gasoline wells do. These are uncommon, relative to the numbers of wells drilled and the trade goes to nice lengths to forestall and/or mitigate effectively management incidents, however no human trade is ideal.

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Depleted oil & gasoline fields are the best repositories as a result of there may be little or no threat of induced seismicity and the truth that there was oil and/or gasoline trapped there means that there’s a competent geologic seal. The primary threat right here is that the previous wells weren’t correctly plugged and deserted (P&A’ed). There must be shut monitoring for leakage within the neighborhood of the previous wells. Improperly P&A’ed wells might need to be drilled out and correctly P&A’ed.

Saline aquifers have the benefit of getting few, if any, previous wellbores. In addition they have the drawback of being at virgin stress. The primary threat right here is induced seismicity. Detailed geotechnical analyses must be carried out previous to drilling injection wells and the realm must be rigorously monitored for seismicity throughout injection.

CO2 injection operations have been safely carried out for many years. The protection document is on par with that of drilling and producing oil & gasoline wells, glorious, however not excellent.

If oil corporations are doing this anyway, why ought to it’s backed?

Oil corporations are doing this the place it makes financial sense below present financial situations and about 80% of the CO2 comes from pure reservoirs, the place it’s sufficiently concentrated for financial extraction. Taking CO2 out of pure reservoirs for EOR operations doesn’t handle the issue, to the extent there may be one.

Determine 10. Present sources of CO2 for EOR operations. (US DOE)

CO2 EOR operations are costly and barely justified with oil costs under $85/bbl.

Implementing a CO2 EOR venture is a capital-intensive enterprise. It includes drilling or transforming wells to function each injectors and producers, putting in a CO2 recycle plant and corrosion resistant area manufacturing infrastructure, and laying CO2 gathering and transportation pipelines. Usually, nonetheless, the one largest venture price is the acquisition of CO2. As such, operators try to optimize and cut back the price of its buy and injection wherever attainable.

Greater oil costs lately have considerably enhance the economics of CO2 EOR. Nevertheless, oil area prices have additionally elevated sharply, decreasing the financial margin important for justifying this oil restoration choice to operators who nonetheless see it as bearing vital threat. Each capital and working prices for an EOR venture can fluctuate over arange, and the worth of CO2 behaves as a commodity, priced at stress, pipeline high quality, and accessibility, so it is vital for an operator to grasp how these components would possibly change. Whole CO2 prices (each buy worth and recycle prices) can quantity to 25 to 50 p.c of the associated fee per barrel of oil produced. Along with the excessive up-front capital prices of a CO2 provide/injection/recycling scheme, the preliminary CO2 injection quantity should be bought effectively prematurely of the onset of incremental manufacturing. Therefore, the return on funding for CO2 EOR tends to be low, with a gradual, long-term payout.

Given the numerous front-end funding in wells, recycle gear, and CO2, the time delay in reaching an incremental oil manufacturing response, and the potential threat of sudden geologic heterogeneity considerably decreasing the anticipated response, CO2 EOR continues to be thought-about to be a dangerous funding by many operators, notably in areas and reservoirs the place it has not been carried out beforehand. Oil reservoirs with increased capital price necessities and fewer favorable ratios of CO2-injected-to-incremental-oil produced won’t obtain an economically justifiable return on funding with out superior, high-efficiency CO2 EOR expertise and/or fiscal/tax incentives for storing CO2.


If the federal government needs oil corporations to spend extra of their cash on CO2 EOR operations than can be supported by present economics, they should present an incentive.  So… they devised a tax credit score to encourage oil corporations to spend extra of their cash on CO2 EOR operations. 

Subsidizing one thing that works makes a helluva lot extra sense than subsidizing inexperienced schist that doesn’t work. The Part 45Q tax credit score was established in 2008, it was enhanced in 2018 in an unusually bipartisan vogue.

A bipartisan group of Senators, spearheaded by Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Barrasso (R-WY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), led the hassle to reinforce the 45Q credit score. Their invoice, S. 1535, the Furthering carbon seize, Utilization, Know-how, Underground storage, and Lowered Emissions Act (FUTURE Act), was included in Senate Finance Committee Chairperson Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) bigger tax extenders invoice, S. 2256, earlier than lastly gaining inclusion within the Bipartisan Price range Act of 2018.

The Nickel Report

Time is definitely on our aspect

The nice factor is that we have now a long time, if not centuries, to deal with this potential drawback and enhance the expertise. Simply sequestering 10% of fossil gas CO2 emissions would require an injection fee virtually equal to the present international crude oil manufacturing fee. Nevertheless, as pure gasoline superior mixed cycle and, hopefully, nuclear energy vegetation exchange retiring coal-fired vegetation, the amount of CO2 requiring sequestration will quickly shrink. And there are promising technological advances that would drastically and economically cut back CO2 emissions from pure gas-fired energy vegetation.

Experimental Texas energy plant goals to make electrical energy cheaper, cleaner

Erin Douglas March 1, 2019

LA PORTE — Simply off of Freeway 225 previous the refineries and coal stacks that line the freeway, one small plant is proving that turbines could make electrical energy with out emissions. Nothing that turns into acid rain. Nothing that makes it laborious to breathe. Nothing that contributes to local weather change.

Distinguished from the opposite industrial websites solely by a inexperienced leaf on its signal, the demonstration plant has been testing operations for just below a yr to show an influence expertise that, as an alternative of emitting carbon dioxide, heats it to drive the generators that make electrical energy. All however three p.c of the carbon dioxide is recycled to provide extra electrical energy; the remainder may be captured and saved,prepared for pipelines to prospects within the oil and gasoline and different industrial industries.


NET Energy, backed by a North Carolina funding agency eight Rivers Capital and different buyers, such because the Houston oil firm Occidental Petroleum, makes use of a expertise known as the Allam energy cycle, which heats up carbon dioxide in a combustion chamber to an especially excessive temperature — some extent often called supercritical carbon dioxide, at which the CO2 gasoline turns into like a liquid. The method makes use of the warmth and mass of supercritical carbon dioxide to show the generators. The carbon dioxide, nonetheless very popular, then cools and is recycled by the plant.

The surplus carbon dioxide generated by the method could possibly be captured on the appropriate stress and high quality to be simply transported through pipeline. Usually, in air combustion, sequestration of carbon dioxide is tough as a result of it’s costly to separate the carbon from the air, after which carry it to the proper pipeline stress. The Allam energy cycle removes the necessity for this separation.

That is doubtlessly an enormous deal for Texas, the place carbon dioxide that may be transported through pipeline is in demand from its power and chemical industries. Oil and gasoline corporations can pump carbon dioxide into growing old oil wells to extend manufacturing, a course of often called enhanced oil restoration. It can be used to make cement.

The $140 million demonstration plant, on West Fairmont Parkway in La Porte, may have the capability to provide 25 megawatts of electrical energy, sufficient to energy about 5,000 Texas properties on a sizzling summer time day. Development on the plant started in March of 2016; it started testing operations in Could.


NET Energy estimates that business variations of the plant, which might have a producing capability of about 300 megawatts, may produce energy for $20 per megawatt hour, assuming the federal tax credit that present incentives for storing carbon dioxide keep in place. That costs additionally assumes the corporate can promote their pipeline-ready carbon dioxide for $15 per ton, in addition to the nitrogen and argon they produce.

NET Energy estimates a mixed pure gasoline cycle produces energy at about $44 per megawatt hour, assuming a worth of about $2.96 per thousand cubic toes of pure gasoline. NET Energy estimates that 450 of its energy vegetation may exchange all the brand new fossil gas energy vegetation wanted from now till 2040 within the U.S.


Houston Chronicle

It is a rarity, a well-written article from the Houston Chronicle.

How is that this totally different from photo voltaic & wind tax credit?

In precept, it isn’t totally different. In follow, it’s subsidizing low-carbon emissions power manufacturing that really works. Whereas, as a philosophical libertarian, I want authorities wouldn’t intervene in any respect, I do know that they may and the very best we will do is to nudge that intervention in the precise path. Name it a Milton Friedman-Voltaire hybrid philosophy.

Is that this an answer seeking an issue?

Perhaps. But it surely’s pretty clear that the U.S. authorities will finally impose stricter carbon emissions rules on fossil gas consumption. President Trump can solely maintain the road till January 21, 2025, if we’re fortunate. And there are few amongst Republican Get together management who would maintain the road in addition to he has. Aside from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Democrats are 100% on the local weather “disaster” bandwagon as a result of they see it because the quick observe to socialism, if not outright Marxism.

The political actuality is that tighter carbon rules and/or taxes are very possible within the to not distant future. CCS and CCSU are the least economically dangerous path ahead.

A observe on feedback

I totally understand that this put up shall be disagreed with by each side of the local weather debate. One aspect will say I’m being a denier for minimizing the severity of the “local weather disaster” and the opposite will actually deny the opportunity of an issue within the comfortably distant future. I gained’t have interaction in debate both means within the feedback part of this put up. My responses shall be restricted to the geological and financial feasibility of carbon seize, sequestration and utilization.

One other Word on feedback

Any feedback made by individuals who clearly didn’t learn the put up, in its entirety, shall be ignored by me. How will I do know you haven’t learn the whole put up? It’s normally pretty straightforward. However, simply to make sure… Begin you remark with the phrase, Delta Home, and that means, I’ll know you learn the put up.


Nationwide Power Know-how Laboratory, U.S. Division of Power. “Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Restoration: Untapped Home Power Provide and Lengthy Time period Carbon Storage Resolution”. 2010.

Porse, Sean, Sarah Wade, & Susan Hovorka. (2014). “Can We Deal with CO2 Effectively Blowouts like Routine Plumbing Issues? A Examine of the Incidence, Influence, and Notion of Lack of Effectively Management”. Power Procedia. 63. 7149-7161. 10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.751.

Sheppard, M. C., R. H. Socolow (2007). “Sustaining fossil gas use in a carbon constrained world by fast commercialization of carbon seize and sequestration”. AIChE J 53:3022–3028

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A brand new Cloud Obtain characteristic might change the way in which you reinstall Home windows 10


Microsoft may very well be engaged on an web restoration characteristic for Home windows 10, in line with a tweet from well-known leaker WalkingCat. Such a characteristic would make it a lot simpler to reinstall Home windows within the occasion of working system failures, eliminating the necessity to manually use a restoration picture on a USB stick or DVD.

Although the characteristic has not formally been talked about by Microsoft, WalkingCat believes it might come as a part of the Home windows Insider Quick Ring construct, 18950. Whereas this construct has not been launched but, it might come as one other preview model of the Home windows 10 20H1 replace — the subsequent main Home windows set for launch subsequent 12 months. The leaker additionally particularly factors out that the “bootux” (the bootable person expertise) on this construct mentions two methods to reinstall Home windows. One technique is a “Cloud Obtain” to obtain Home windows, and a second choice is to “Reset Regionally,” within the extra conventional technique with restoration media.

For Home windows 10, this new web restoration characteristic might mark an attention-grabbing technique to reinstall the working system. It’s not fully clear, however “Cloud Obtain” in Home windows might presumably enable customers to “clear set up” and stand up thus far with the most recent model of Home windows 10 instantly from Microsoft’s servers with out utilizing any further instruments. That’s one thing that might in any other case need to be achieved manually through Microsoft’s Media Creation software program.

Whereas it might be new to Home windows 10, this characteristic is comparatively much like what Apple has already achieved with the “Web Restoration” choice for MacOS. Customers of the Apple working system can reset a MacBook or iMac system with a sure keyboard mixture on boot, after which proceed to obtain and set up the model of MacOS that shipped with their system.

If the rumor holds up, this web restoration choice can be certainly one of many new modifications coming within the 20H1 replace in early 2020. It has already been confirmed that the Home windows 10 20H1 replace will characteristic new help for third-party assistants on the lock display screen and a redesigned chat-based Cortana. Different modifications coming in 20H1 embody a barely redesigned File Explorer with extra rounded corners, in addition to modifications to the Home windows Ink Workspace.

D&D’s Christopher Perkins delves into darkish, horrible secrets and techniques of the thoughts flayer


The illithids are a tentacle-faced scourge in Dungeons & Dragons. They eat, in search of to rebuild a once-mighty planar empire upon the backs of these they deem their lessers (which is nearly each different being within the multiverse). Their starvation for energy (and brains) shatters worlds, and their actions have created terrifying threats within the merciless duergar, the insane derro, and the ruthless planar pillagers, the githyanki.

They usually use humanoids not simply as meals, not simply as thralls … but in addition as breeding inventory.

Thoughts flayers epitomize physique horror within the fantasy role-playing sport. The illithids implant tiny tadpole right into a being’s head, and in seven days, the unlucky soul transforms right into a thoughts flayer (this is named ceremorphosis). And Larian Studios captured this transformation at its most ugly within the trailer for Baldur’s Gate three, it’s upcoming role-playing sport for PC and Google Stadia.

Whereas illithids have an extended and terrifying historical past within the tabletop sport, thoughts flayers have by no means had a staring position in a D&D online game. They play a task in Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, however they’ve by no means been a featured foe.

However what’s nonetheless canon concerning the thoughts flayers? And what different darkish secrets and techniques do these beings maintain? I requested Wizards of the Coast a bevy of query concerning the flayers, and I received the solutions from Christopher Perkins, who along with being the sport’s lead story designer can be the sage behind the “Lore You Ought to Know” segments on the official D&D podcast Dragon Speak.

That is an edited transcript of the solutions Perkins emailed again.

GamesBeat: Do the details about thoughts flayer biology, tradition, society, and such within the Second Version and Third Version merchandise similar to The Illithiad (2E) and Lords of Insanity: The Ebook of Abberations (three.5E) nonetheless apply to Fifth Version illithids, as we’re going to possible see in Baldur’s Gate three?

Chris Perkins: Our present mindset, and one of many guiding ideas of Fifth Version, is that we don’t assume every part that was true in earlier editions is canonically true now. We assess every ingredient of a monster by itself deserves. That mentioned, if one thing has been persistently true a couple of monster all through the sport’s historical past, it’s a superb wager that it holds true in Fifth Version. The whole lot that we all know is true about thoughts flayers in Fifth Version could be discovered within the 5E Monster Guide and the “Thoughts Flayers: Scourge of Worlds” part of Volo’s Information to Monsters. The latter useful resource, specifically, picks up parts of thoughts flayer lore from earlier sourcebooks, together with The Illithiad and Lords of Insanity.

GamesBeat: Thoughts flayers first appeared in Eldritch Wizardry manner again in 1976 for the unique D&D White Field, proper?

Perkins: Sure. Thoughts flayers in Eldritch Wizardry had four+2 Hit Cube, an Armor Class of 5, and a “% in Laie” of 50%. (That’s a typo in Eldritch Wizardry, by the best way. It meant to say “% in Lair.”) Eldritch Wizardry additionally established that thoughts flayers are lawful evil, have 4 face-tentacles, and are “psionically endowed,” all of which stay true to this present day.

GamesBeat: Thoughts flayers should eat the brains of sentient creatures … have they got fondness of a specific humanoid over one other? Do they view the brains of beholders and dragons, and even celestials and fiends, as delicacies to hunt out?

Perkins: Though thoughts flayers don’t show an excessive amount of individuality, they do have meals preferences the identical manner people do. That’s to say, one thoughts flayer would possibly benefit from the style of elf brains greater than dwarf brains, whereas others would possibly dislike elf brains totally. Some discover the brains of very smart humanoids tastier than the brains of dimwits. They don’t eat the brains of non-humanoids, as a rule, and thus have no real interest in non-humanoids as meals sources. A ravenous thoughts flayer would possibly resort to consuming the mind of a rothé (Underdark cow) or related creature, although it wouldn’t present a lot nourishment.

GamesBeat: May thoughts flayers use their tentacles to wield magic gadgets similar to wands and rings?

Perkins: As people, we will put on rings on our toes or use our toes to understand issues; nonetheless, we don’t do that as a normal rule as a result of now we have fingers. The identical is true for thoughts flayers and their tentacles. Can a thoughts flayer use their tentacles to carry issues? Positive. Do they? Not usually, no.

GamesBeat: Do thoughts flayers nonetheless lay eggs? Or do the tadpoles simply emerge from the elder mind?

Perkins: Thoughts flayers procreate via ceremorphosis, a time period first launched in The Illithiad and reintroduced for Fifth Version in Volo’s Information to Monsters. They lay eggs from which hatch tadpole-like creatures. A newly hatched tadpole is then implanted within the skull of an incapacitated humanoid host, often via a nostril or ear canal. The tadpole grows because it consumes the humanoid’s mind, attaching to the sufferer’s mind stem and changing into its new mind. Over the course of every week, the humanoid physique adjustments type, and a brand new thoughts flayer comes into being.

GamesBeat: How lengthy does ceremorphosis take? Older editions say 7 days. Did the tadpole in that poor Flaming Fist soldier immediately remodel its host, or was that after being inside them for every week?

Perkins: Seven days. The Flaming Fist soldier had the tadpole in its head for 7 days earlier than adopting its remaining type.

GamesBeat: Might thoughts flayers nonetheless undergo from partialism — the place the outdated psyche of their physique manifests once in a while?

Perkins: A thoughts flayer can retain shreds of its earlier existence, as reminiscences or behaviors imprinted on its psyche. The ceremorphosis course of isn’t excellent in that regard. Thoughts flayers that undergo from partialism usually tend to grow to be aberrant members of illithid society, generally splintering off to grow to be Arcanists or exhibiting tastes that the remainder of their form contemplate alien or grotesque. For instance, a thoughts flayer that was once an elf might need a keenness for elven music that different illithids discover baffling, unsettling, or abhorrent.

We performed this up in a latest Fifth Version journey, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, which included a thoughts flayer with a really peculiar pastime: oil portray!

GamesBeat: The thoughts flayers’ origin is the Far Realm, appropriate?

Above: The illithiad, generally often known as the thoughts flayer, feeds in your mind — and turns us into monsters.

Picture Credit score: Wizards of the Coast

Perkins: In Volo’s Information to Monsters, we are saying that thoughts flayers initially got here from the Astral Aircraft, the place they encountered and enslaved the gith races. Their empire expanded rapidly throughout many galaxies or crystal spheres, nonetheless, so it’s straightforward for mortals to conclude that illithids are galactic threats versus extradimensional ones.

The PS5 is obtainable for pre-order on a Swedish retailer for over $1000


Little or no is understood about Sony’s next-generation PlayStation system, which can presumably be known as the PS5. We do know, nonetheless, that it is going to be able to a powerful 8K decision with ray tracing, and that energy doesn’t come cheaply. That being mentioned, we positive are hoping the worth on a latest product itemizing is only a placeholder.

The Swedish retailer MediaMarkt has posted a list for the PlayStation 5, providing up it up for pre-order. The outline consists of beforehand revealed particulars, corresponding to ray tracing, SSD storage, and backwards compatibility. The retailer didn’t embody a possible launch date, but it surely did, nonetheless, supply a value: 9999 SEK, which interprets to only beneath $1050. The positioning additionally lets you pre-order the console on the quantity listed, nonetheless, we strongly discourage ordering the PS5 by way of this website.

We will nearly assure that this value is just a placeholder whereas we look ahead to the ultimate value announcement from Sony, and the language elsewhere on the web page suggests MediaMarkt is aware of simply as little in regards to the PS5 as we do. Nevertheless, sport consoles have value this a lot previously. When adjusted for inflation, the Neo-Geo system launched in 1991 would have been greater than $1,110 at launch, as would the 3DO launched two years later.

We haven’t seen sport consoles come near this determine since then, with Sony’s personal PlayStation three being the newest instance of an “costly system” when it launched with $500 and $600 configurations. On condition that the PS4 launched at $400 again in 2013, we anticipate the PS5 to be priced equally, if no more. Analysts have instructed it might doubtlessly begin out at $500 and certainly one of our personal editors that estimated the fee to fabricate the PS5’s hardware agrees, however the complete listed on the Swedish retail website is way too excessive for the typical participant to contemplate paying.

Sony should additionally maintain its value in competitors with Xbox’s upcoming Challenge Scarlett, which is about to launch in late 2020. Whereas Microsoft won’t need to replicate the fiasco that was the Xbox One’s $500 value again in 2013, the hardware being provided this upcoming technology is considerably higher. The Xbox One X launched with a $499 price ticket not even a yr in the past, and Challenge Scarlett is anticipated to incorporate hardware superior to it.

Siggraph 2019 gives a sneak peek into what’s subsequent for AR, VR, and CG


It’s onerous to imagine that the pc graphics convention Siggraph is celebrating its 46th birthday this 12 months, however the annual occasion definitely doesn’t present any indicators of center age. Held this week on the Los Angeles Conference Middle, Siggraph 2019 is all about the way forward for 2D and 3D digital worlds, attracting everybody from luminaries in pre-rendered CG to budding AR builders and VR artists.

Siggraph’s exhibition space opens at this time, including to instructional classes which have been in progress since this weekend, and an “experiences” space that opened yesterday. I had the chance to attend the present’s official media preview and go hands-on with a bunch of this 12 months’s most fun improvements; right here’s a photograph tour of a number of the finest issues I noticed and tried.

Largest wow second: Il Divino – Sistine VR

There’s no scarcity of refined blended actuality hardware at Siggraph, however I used to be most impressed by a bit of software program that basically demonstrated VR’s instructional and experiential potential. Christopher Evans, Paul Huston, Wes Bunn, and Elijah Dixson exhibited Il Divino: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR, an app that recreates the world-famous Sistine Chapel throughout the Unreal Engine, then helps you to expertise all of its paintings in methods which can be unattainable for vacationers at the true website.

The app begins with a modestly spectacular ground-level recreation of the Chapel. Epic’s Unreal Engine helps you to see life like marble limitations and ceramic flooring tiles if you happen to look intently, and also you’ll haven’t any hassle making out the person work as you strategy them, although you gained’t confuse the fake wall curtains or different parts with actuality. Even so, Il Divino’s builders present a formidable audio and flippantly visible guided tour by the house, profiting from an interface that’s largely about teleporting from place to put inside a big field, and taking a look at artwork.

However all the pieces adjustments when the app opens up entry to a mechanical lifter and picket scaffolding that elevate you to the Chapel’s ceiling. Impulsively, you may management your up-close views of the work, and expertise Michelangelo’s masterpiece Creation of Adam from the identical perspective because the painter himself. The builders use VR — together with your personal fatigue after a relatively temporary session — to recommend how troublesome the act of portray for hours (and months) on finish will need to have been, whereas providing insights into the pacing and order of the works.

There are millions of eye-melting VR experiences on the market, and an equal variety of uninteresting “instructional” ones. Il Divino succeeds as a result of it’s hyper-realistic otherwise, utilizing digital actuality to each simulate and go previous the unique expertise, enabling a type of schooling that feels extra open to non-public exploration. It will likely be obtainable free of charge later this 12 months from SistineVR.com.

Cinema, group and particular person

It wouldn’t be Siggraph with out an exhibition of computer-generated films, and the VR Theater at this 12 months’s present is price seeing. Fifty visitors at a time are welcomed into the venue to see a set of 5 completely different real-time CG shorts developed by separate studios, most notably together with Disney’s pleased cartoon A Kite’s Story, Faber Courtial’s impressively life like house odyssey 2nd Step, and Baobab’s charming interactive Bonfire. Beneath, Disney’s Bruce Wright welcomes early guests to the VR Theater.

As soon as inside, viewers are seated in chairs with particular person VR headsets, headphones, and two controllers, collectively experiencing the 5 shorts over a roughly one-hour session. A financial institution of high-end PCs sits within the middle of the room, powering and synchronizing the experiences, although there’s little ongoing sense of collaboration between individuals. As a substitute, it’s a VR theater the place everybody’s watching just about the identical factor, albeit from no matter angle a particular head is on, and — in some circumstances — with variations attributable to the shorts’ interactive parts.

In a smaller room elsewhere at Siggraph, New York-based Parallux is providing a extra clearly shared expertise. The corporate has developed a brief story for group viewing that’s akin to watching a Broadway present with associates, however you could possibly be watching it from anyplace.

Right here, Parallux CEO Sebastian Herscher gestures in the direction of a desk surrounded by Magic Leap AR headsets, which seated viewers use to observe Mary and the Monster, a singular spin on Mary Shelley’s creation of the Frankenstein story. Sturdy voice performing and stable movement seize deliver the animated expertise to life inside a diorama-like stage setting. Magic Leap wearers can use their controllers as magnifiers to zoom in on the person actors, akin to opera glasses.

Every viewer sees the play-like efficiency showing on the identical desk, and it’s synchronized throughout the entire headsets without delay; it can be watched utilizing VR headsets, and might be scaled to pretty massive native or distant audiences. This can be a glimpse into what could possibly be the way forward for performs, skilled holographically and from any seat in the home you favor.

Aside from the examples above, a lot of the VR shows I noticed at Siggraph have been centered on particular person experiences. One attention-grabbing exhibit, MIT Media Lab’s Deep Actuality, used stay coronary heart fee, electrodermal exercise, and mind exercise monitoring to create an intensely private rest and reflection expertise. After somebody lies down and dons a VR headset, Deep Actuality makes use of “nearly imperceptible gentle flickering, sound pulsations, and gradual actions of underwater 3D creatures [to] replicate the interior state of the viewer.” Who wouldn’t like to relax and calm down to one thing so personally attuned at residence?

Subsequent-generation AR eyewear

Two of Siggraph’s most notable hardware displays have been Nvidia’s new prescription AR eyewear and foveated AR headset — each nonetheless in analysis levels, however obtainable to check with prototypes. The prescription AR glasses provided a vision-corrected, see-through AR show answer, together with a demo of how the lenses let viewers see optically sharp projections that seem to drift inside the true world.

Within the prototype type, the glasses had small, clear ribbons that displayed projected digital photographs similar to coloured bottles or an Nvidia brand in entrance of the lenses. They didn’t require cables, and have been as light-weight as fashionable, cheap plastic glasses are at this time.

A separate demo confirmed off Nvidia’s work on a Foveated AR Show, which the corporate suggests will use gaze monitoring to allow multi-layer depth in AR photographs. Within the picture beneath, you may see how a particular small gaze space tracked by the headset turns into sharper to your eye because the background turns into softer and fewer detailed.

Nvidia is touting the Foveated AR Show as a “dynamic fusion of foveal and peripheral show,” and releasing a analysis paper to accompany the venture. It’s unclear when the expertise will truly seem in a transport product, nevertheless it’s attention-grabbing to see Nvidia diving deeper into the AR world at this stage.

Subsequent-generation haptics and immersion

A few of the different improvements at Siggraph are wild, if not loopy. For example, Taipei Tech is displaying off LiquidMask, a briefcase-sized face haptic answer that lets your face really feel cold and hot liquid sensations in VR.

LiquidMask can ship suggestions and temperatures between 68 and 97 levels Fahrenheit, doubtlessly helpful for underwater VR experiences — assuming, after all, that you just’re prepared to hook your self as much as one thing as massive as this to expertise these sensations.

One other firm was taking steps in the direction of a really completely different sort of future with a huge prosthetic tail — one thing that one wouldn’t have anticipated to search out at Siggraph. The tail can be utilized to enhance somebody’s current sense of stability with a 3rd stabilizing limb, or disrupt their stability for train or different functions.

The prototype tail makes use of pneumatics, counting on a separate cabled air tank for movement, so there’s no want to fret about an imminent assault by The Lizard or Physician Octopus. If it may be made transportable (and quiet), it’d wind up being helpful for individuals with bodily disabilities or motor limitations.

Extra small steps for Magic Leap

Magic Leap is providing two foremost demos at Siggraph’s “expertise” space. Lengthy traces have been forming to attempt Mica, a demo of the corporate’s AI assistant, which presently can’t do a lot. Mica seems like a pixie-haired human girl, and sooner or later, will supposedly be capable to converse with and information headset wearers.

Within the demo, you may take a look at her as she seems again at you, then silently comply with her gestures to make a creative collage collectively. It’s not notably thrilling stuff at this stage, however in a world the place digital assistants similar to Siri can spend years delivering hit-and-miss experiences, Magic Leap might properly beat Apple to delivering a extra compelling, fully-formed different.

Magic Leap’s different new demo, Undersea, lets customers work together with an almost photorealistic coral reef that seems inside any room you select, and a picture-sized portal window into the ocean on the wall. Along with letting you stroll round and examine a bit of coral and small assortment of fish, the demo helps you to maintain out your hand to generate bubbles and maintain a fish in your palm, albeit with so-so monitoring.

Whereas the Siggraph demo is designed for a two-minute expertise (and isn’t particularly compelling), a full model of Undersea with extra settings and depth has simply been launched for Magic Leap customers. No matter what number of or few of the $2,300 Magic Leap headsets have been bought, it’s clear at Siggraph that the corporate is working to actively push the platform ahead.

Better of the remaining

One in all Siggraph’s best strengths is the variety of computer-generated artwork it brings into focus for attendees. You may not love all of it, however even a number of the most elementary ideas are thought-provoking.

John Wong’s RuShi interactive artwork exhibit above makes use of your birthdate and start hour to generate, by some unspecified mechanism, a shifting and colourful AI-based knowledge move that’s offered on the central display whereas prior customers’ knowledge seems on adjoining screens. It’s speculated to make you take into account the quantity of knowledge about you that’s already being processed by AI in the true world, and whether or not that processing has any worth.

A Siggraph-wide new concentrate on Adaptive Expertise consists of a number of Microsoft adaptive controllers, a touchscreen presentation of various adaptive applied sciences, and 11 classes/talks on the topic.

Final however not least, David Shorey’s sales space demonstrated the usage of 3D printers to create real-world bodily garments that appeared like they have been straight out of video video games and fantasy settings, together with dragon scale-like materials that could possibly be used for cosplay. His strategies yielded an unimaginable assortment of various textures, floor remedies, and finish merchandise that look set to merge the worlds of CG and real-world style.

The long run’s already right here

My largest takeaway from Siggraph 2019 is that the CG future a few of us have been anticipating a decade or extra in the past is already right here — if the place to look. VR and AR aren’t ubiquitous at this level, nevertheless it’s apparent from this present that there are many sensible individuals working to evolve CG from its early 2D roots into genuinely immersive, interactive 3D.

Attendees may spend almost every week at Siggraph with out absolutely greedy all the pieces that’s underway with big corporations similar to Disney and tiny teams of researchers internationally. Scenes just like the one beneath, the place a gaggle of persons are all sharing a computer-generated leisure expertise in VR, have turn out to be desk stakes for VR as of 2019.

The query is “the place does it go from right here,” and there’s not only one good reply. If something, Siggraph exhibits what number of instructions CG is heading in, and the reason being easy: Vastly proficient and artistic individuals at the moment are closely invested within the futures of those applied sciences. At this level, the problem is to shine and unfold their concepts to as many individuals as attainable, bringing what’s presently within the Los Angeles Conference Middle out to everybody’s houses and public areas.

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