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Thursday, Sep 04, 2014

  

BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Tickets

Blizzard announces details on the virtual tickets that will allow anyone who wishes to attend November's BlizzCon 2014 to do so from the comfort of their own home. These are on sale on Battle.net for $39.99, but those only interested in watching streams of the eSports competitions can do so for free. The Virtual Ticket will offer access to two streams, including all panel discussions, as well as early access to an online sale of items from the event. As usual, an assortment of in-game items will also be included. Here's the deal in a nutshell:

The Virtual Ticket gives you a front-row seat at BlizzCon 2014—taking place November 7 and 8 in Anaheim, CA—from the comfort of your own couch, live and in high definition (720p). You’ll get comprehensive coverage of both days of the show, including panels, contests, closing ceremony, interviews, and more, as well as some cool commemorative in-game goodies.

Dead Rising 3 Tomorrow; Launch Trailer Today

Capcom Unity reminds us that tomorrow is the official release date for Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition, the Windows edition of the zombie action game, noting that there's still a little time to get a 10% discount by preordering. They also offer a new PC launch trailer, saying: "Anyway, if you need a little more enticement, check out the following trailer, which really gets right at the essence of Dead Rising. You'll see what I mean." Continue here to read the full story.

Steamships Ahoy - Call of Duty: Ghosts Nemesis

Steam News announces that the Nemesis DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts is now available for purchase for all owners of the Windows edition of the shooter sequel. Word is: "Call of Duty®: Ghosts owners can now enhance their experience with the exciting new Nemesis DLC, which includes 4 new multiplayer maps and Exodus, the conclusion to the Extinction 4-part episodic saga."

Steamships Ahoy - Boo Bunny Plague

On The Level Game Studios now offers Boo Bunny Plague on Steam, an indie action/adventure for Windows and OS X that's on sale for 25% off for the next week. This is like a game version of the movie Harvey, only in this case the six-foot tall bunny is robot set on vengeance, rather than a figment of someone's imagination. Word is: "In Boo Bunny Plague, players follow a six-foot-tall robotic toy bunny named Bunny who goes berserk when a disgruntled factory worker uploads a virus from a TI-82 calculator. What ensues is a hilarious adventure with tons of '80s and '90s references, as well as musical interludes that push the story forward." Here's a release trailer showing off the game.

Steamships Ahoy - Train Fever

Urban Games has a fever for more train bell, so they are now offering Train Fever on Steam, a new railroading simulation for Windows, OS X, and Linux. There are details and a launch trailer on the Train Fever website, and here's word on the game:

Implementing lessons learned from the genre’s rich history, Urban Games have developed a state-of-the-art railway-simulation inspired by the likes of 1994’s Transport Tycoon. Using an in-house engine built specifically for the game, the team poured their affection and knowledge of the genre into Train Fever, combined with a desire to add the kinds of features they always wanted to see themselves, to create a train sim to be reckoned with.

Train Fever delivers an advanced railroad business simulation set against a backdrop of sophisticated randomly generated 3D environments and lovingly crafted models. Players can step back to the golden years of the industrial revolution with steam trains dating from the 1840’s, or fast forward to the powerful locomotives and sprawling cities of the modern day. Establish a transport company, build infrastructure, buy rolling stock, manage the lines and watch the world evolve dynamically as the steel-wheeled empire flourishes.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Early Access

Steam now offers early access to The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, KING Art's adventure game sequel for Windows, Linux, and OS X. They celebrate the news with a gameplay presentation trailer featuring developer commentary that runs 11 minutes. Here's the deal:

At a price point of EUR 29.99/USD 29.99/GBP 24.99, the full game including all future updates can be purchased. The entire first chapter is ready to play and awaits players to delve into the world of Aventásia. Collect the first clues about the despicable epidemic that is slowly but surely infesting the land. Why despicable you ask? This epidemic is pink, fluffy, and threatens to shake the foundations of fantasy worlds as one cherishes it. Who wants gentle, inoffensive trolls without any social disorder, anyway.

Thanks to its projection mapping technology, the world of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 looks enchanting in any colour, but pink is far far away from being the new black. Fortunately, there’s a wonderful reunion for our heroes from the first part, Wilbur, Nate, Princess Ivo and the Critter, who are ready to take it up with this shimmering menace.

Continue here to read the full story.

Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms in November

bitComposer Games announces a November 13th release date for the "first book" of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, their action/RPG. This news comes as they release a new major patch through Steam for the early access version of the game which adds a new playable character and implements the game's crafting system. Here's word:

The update brings a new playable character to the world of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms: Evia, the Daughter of Fire. Evia is the last of the three primary main characters. She is the princess of a long-extinct kingdom and an extraordinarily mighty mage with the power to control the elements, which she uses as a weapon to destroy her enemies.

The crafting system is also now available, allowing players to craft their own weapons and armour, brew potions and create powerful rings. Additionally, due to feedback received during the early access phase, the developers have opened up the skill system, giving players more freedom when selecting their skills.

Styx: Master of Shadows Trailer

Focus Home Interactive offers a new trailer from Styx: Master of Shadows called "Assassin's Green" (see what they did there?). Here's word on the trailer, which they say is the first of several they will issue between now and when the game is released next month:

Styx: Master of Shadows, the infiltration game from Cyanide Studios, has a unique verticality that is ample throughout the gallows, alleys, courtyards and winding halls within the Tower of Akenash. Coming October for PS4®, Xbox One® and PC, scale and prowl through the expansive and mysterious home of the World Tree, either subverting the guards, or quietly and invisibly disposing of them.

Today's video is the first of a series of gameplay trailers we will be releasing over the coming weeks until the release of the game. It illustrates some of the Goblin's skills, as he uses his stealth, weaponry, bold moves and smart use of the environment to get rid of the tower's denizens.

Continue here to read the full story.

Free Unreal Engine 4 for Schools

Epic Games announces a new program to provide unlimited access to their Unreal Engine 4 for academic use. Here's the deal:

Epic Games is committed to supporting students and schools, and helping companies that license Unreal Engine 4 find and hire qualified developers.

So, starting now, Unreal Engine 4 is free to use for colleges and universities. The engine can be installed and used on all school owned computers, and personal copies can be provided free of charge to all students enrolled in accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation, and visualization programs.

In addition, schools and their students will receive regular updates as if subscribed, but without having to pay the $19 monthly fee. Launch of commercial products is still subject to the 5% royalty. For complete details, please see the FAQ.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Sims 4 Pirate Copies Pixelated

Player Attack has word on a creative approach to copy protection in The Sims 4, saying illegal copies of the game will feature blurry pixelated visuals, much like the censorship for the game's nude scenes and some of the Japanese films in your private collection. This has invoked the always entertaining spectacle of users flocking to the forums looking for technical support for their pirated copies of the game.

Diablo III Mid-Season Nerf

Those still hoping to compete in the first Diablo III season just took an arrow to the knee (oops, wrong RPG), as Blizzard announces they are hotfixing out the bounties that allowed some players to race up the seasonal leaderboard. In spite of extensive beta testing, it apparently came as a surprise that some bounties were providing more experience than they wanted, so they've broken out the nerf hammer mid-season, giving up on keeping a level playing field, saying: "While we won't be removing any Conquest credit or ranking from players who chose to use this particular technique, we will be making changes to these bounties for future Seasons." Here's word on the changes:

One of our ongoing goals for Diablo III (and Seasons in particular) is to promote diversity in play styles and encourage a variety of experience whenever possible. In line with this goal, and as a direct result of your feedback from Season 1, we're in the process of implementing a series of hotfixes that will temporarily disable the following events as eligible bounties:

  • The Matriarch's Bones
  • The Jar of Souls
  • The Miser's Will
  • A Miner's Gold

This change will apply to both Seasonal and non-Seasonal games. Additionally, please note that these hotfixes will only remove the above events from the active bounty pool, not the game itself. The events can still spawn in-game and will provide rewards as normal.

We don't have an ETA at this time for when these events will be re-added to the bounty pool, but are working to have them available for Season 2.

Jagged Alliance Flashback Early Access Patched; Full Release Next Month

Full Control announces a release date for Jagged Alliance Flashback, saying their tactical remake will launch on October 21st, celebrating the news with today's release of a new "Tactical Overload" update for the Steam early access edition of the game and a new video diary for Tactical Overload. Here's a list of what today's update adds:

  • Melee Combat
  • Stealth & Hearing System
  • Quickslots
  • Interrupts & View Cones
  • UI Overhaul
  • New Mercenaries & new Sectors

Ryse: Son of Rome Next Month; Specs Revealed

The Steam page for Ryse: Son of Rome now reveals an October 10th release date for the Windows edition of Crytek's action game, offering a free copy of the game's soundtrack for those who pre-purchase it (thanks VG247). This also reveals the following system specifications:

Minimum:
OS: Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7 or Windows 8 (64bit)
Processor: Intel Dual-Core 2.8 GHz/ AMD Dual-Core 3.2 GHz or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: DirectX 11 graphics card with 1 GB video RAM
DirectX: Version 11
Hard Drive: 26 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible Sound Card with latest drivers

Recommended:
OS: Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7 or Windows 8 (64bit)
Processor: Intel Quad-Core or AMD Octo-Core
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: DirectX 11 graphics card with 4 GB video RAM
DirectX: Version 11
Hard Drive: 26 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible Sound Card with latest drivers

Linux & OS X Tropico 5 This Month

Kalypso Media announces the Linux and OS X editions of Tropico 5 will be released on September 19th through Steam and the Mac App Store, noting that this comes at no additional cost to those who buy (or have bought) this through Steam. Here's word:

In just a few weeks, Mac/Linux players can also visit the island paradise of Tropico, where the people don’t even have to think for themselves and the burden of voting is kindly relieved by the government. Get yourself a job in Tropico’s booming llama industry, admire quaint historical landmarks such as the Cold War era military base and relax on the beach with Tropico’s own take on the Manhattan – which contains absolutely no alcohol. The Mac/Linux version of Tropico 5 includes cross-platform multiplayer via SteamPlay, Full Controller and Big Picture Mode support. Plus, if you’ve already bought Tropico 5 for PC, then you can download the Mac/Linux edition for absolutely free via Steam cross-buy!

Australian Steam Refund Demands Detailed

Kotaku Australia has a follow-up on the recent report that Valve is being taken to court in Australia over the lack of a refund policy for Steam purchases (thanks Darth Guybrush). They have a list from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of demands the watchdog group has to make this right, as well as a statement from Valve saying they are trying to work this out, quoting Doug Lombardi as saying "We are making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter." They also provide some background on this, saying the legal action was prompted by a few cases where consumers were unable to secure refunds for games that turned out to be unplayable. Here is the list of what the ACCC wants of Valve if they prevail in this case:

The ACCC is asking that Valve:

  • Provide an email address that specifically deals with refunds as per Australian Consumer law.
  • Provide a 1800 number to help consumers address any refund issues.
  • Provide a PO Box address for consumers to deal with refunds.
  • Appoint representatives (the ACCC refer to this person as a contact officer) to reply to consumers regarding refunds.

If the ACCC is successful, Valve will have to implement these changes within 30 days of the court order.

The ACCC is asking that, through these new avenues, each consumer be addressed and dealt with in accordance to their statutory rights as per Australian Consumer Law.

Interestingly, the ACCC wants Valve to appoint an independent auditor to review its consumer redress policy within 180 days of any potential court order. This person cannot be an employee or have any interests in Valve. This person cannot have been involved in the creator of the consumer redress policy. This independent auditor will then have to send a report to the ACCC informing them of how many consumers attempted to get a refund and how many were successful or unsuccessful and the reasons why.

F1 2014 Trailer

A new Sochi Hot Lap trailer for F1 2014 offers another timely look at the upcoming Formula One game, based on next month's Russian Grand Prix. Here's the deal: "The hot lap shows 20 year-old Russian driver Daniil Kvyat in his Toro Rosso STR9 taking on his home track, the Sochi Autodrom." Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

To follow up on the Amazon affiliate dealie, this seems to be working properly based on every effort to check up on this. If you click through on a link to Amazon containing our affiliate code, Amazon will pay us a commission at no additional cost to you. This works with a cookie, so we should get credit if you follow that link, even if our affiliate code does not appear in the URL. Thanks to all of you who have helped test this, and for all of you who have been using our affiliate links, the support is appreciated. I will work on adding a more visible/accessible link going forward.

Another follow-up is that the NFL begins tonight (yay!), so there's still time to get in on the ground floor of our hastily assembled debut competition to pick games using the point spread (password "bn2") as well as our now-traditional straight Pick'em group (password "bn"). Best of luck to all who are participating.

R.I.P.? Nope: Betty White is not dead.

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