Updated: Apr 20, 2018 10:20 am Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Friday, Apr 20, 2018

Valve Loses $3M AU Fine Appeal

Business Insider Australia reports Valve has lost its legal appeal over the $3 million AUD fine they were hit with in late 2016 over Steam's refund policies. Here's the summary:

The Federal Court found in the ACCC’s favour in March 2016, fining the company $3 million in December of that year.

The Court found Steam’s terms and conditions, and refund policies, included false or misleading representations about consumers’ rights to obtain a refund for games if they were not of acceptable quality.

Justice Edelman was scathing in his judgment, saying “Valve’s culture of compliance was, and is, very poor” and its evidence “disturbing”.

Valve “formed a view …that it was not subject to Australian law… and with the view that even if advice had been obtained that Valve was required to comply with the Australian law the advice might have been ignored” and also “contested liability on almost every imaginable point”.

In December last year, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia dismissed Valve Corporation’s appeal against a ruling.

Valve had sought special leave to appeal that decision in the High Court, which today dismissed that application.

The High Court decision means the original fine stands.

Survarium Graphics Upgrade

The Survarium Forums announce the release of a new patch for Survarium, updating the survival shooter to version 0.52. Among the changes this provides is a new graphics renderer, which offers a more up-to-date look as well as performance improvements for a win-win. Here's a video showing off the game's new look, and here are some details from the announcement, including word on a special event which is now underway:

The development of a new graphics renderer took the Survarium team several years to deliver. The main goal was to improve the graphics in the game and make it more up-to-date with current technology while still improving the game’s overall performance on most systems.

All the lighting has been drastically changed on the game locations, while the various materials have now obtained the correct parameters of light reflection and absorption.

On top of that, materials for the entire weapon range have been reworked. Metal now truly looks and reflects light as metal should, while the varinished wooden surfaces got their deserved gloss.
Nevertheless, as of today, the new graphics renderer does not contain all the functionality we would like it to have, so work to keep improving the renderer will continue and features included in future updates.

On top of the graphics changes, a new Springtime in-game event has started. A special game map was created and a new and exciting game mode are now available to all players.
Somewhere deep in the forest is a derelict base long occupied by a faction of survivors. Once on a spring day the base was attacked by a group of five unknown combatants. Their goal was to deliver a strange artifact to one of the two designated zones available, while having sabotaged the actions of the defending force. If the attackers succeed - they win the round. Otherwise - victory goes to the team of the defenders. Having played three rounds, the attackers and defenders are switched. The ultimate victory in match is granted to the first team to reach a score of five.

Continue here to read the full story.

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Hardware Reviews

  • AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Hexa-Core Processor on Tech ARP.
  • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Octa-Core Processor on Tech ARP.
  • Corsair Carbide 275R Mid-Tower Gaming Case on Benchmark Reviews.
  • CORSAIR K68 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on Nikk Tech.
  • GAMDIAS Hermes P2 RGB Keyboard on APH Networks.
  • MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC Motherboard on LanOC Reviews.
  • Sahara P35 Case, Pirate Turbo 12cm Fans and Controller on Play3r.


Out of the Blue

Happy 4/20 day, which has become an annual celebration of the reefer, despite the mixed legality of cannabis here in the U.S. (for now, at least). The steady legitimization of weed continues though, as an experience I had just a couple of days ago illustrates. A new tobacco shop recently opened up in our sleepy little village, much to my delight, since I enjoy the occasional cigar. I finally visited the other day to see the lay of the land, and I was surprised to see that along with the tobacco products, the place is basically a head shop filled with bongs and pipes. Seeing that here in what I call Mayberry really shows how much attitudes have changed over the years.

High Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: red.
Stories: Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. How 3 Communities Honor Their Dead.
Schumer to introduce marijuana decriminalization bill.
Postal Worker Keeps 17,000 Pieces of Mail.
Science: GW Pharmaceuticals marijuana-based epilepsy drug close to FDA approval.
Earth’s mammals have shrunk dramatically, and humans are to blame.
Do You Know Which Dog Breeds Are in a Mutt? Backwards. Purebreds are distilled from mutts. Thanks j.c.f.
Images: Lagoon Nebula Dazzles in Hubble Telescope's 28th-Birthday Photos.
Media: SUV crashes into house allegedly owned by Michael Bay.
Landscape photographer races to finish decades of work.
Anchor drop failure resulting in loss of anchor. Woops.

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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018

Get Satellite Reign for Free

The Humble Bundle Blog announces the chance to get Satellite Reign for free from the Humble Store for the next 48 hours, or while supplies last. This will be redeemed via a Steam key for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Here's a refresher on this RTS game:

Strategic Cyberpunk Action
Satellite Reign is a real-time, class-based strategy game, set in an open-world cyberpunk city. You command a group of 4 agents through rain-soaked, neon-lit streets, where the law is the will of mega-corporations. Use your agents to sneak, shoot, steal, and sabotage your way up the corporate ladder, and take control of the most powerful monopoly of all time.

Each of your agents can be tailored toward your favoured play-style, while still maintaining their own unique specialisations. Shape your team into an offensive war machine, or an elite covert spec-ops outfit, and take the open-world city as your own.

Get Eador. Masters of the Broken World for Free

Steam News announces the chance to get Eador. Masters of the Broken World to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the launch of this fantasy strategy game. Word is this will be yours to keep as long as you claim your copy before the offer ends on Sunday:

In celebration of its 5 year anniversary, you can add Eador. Masters of the Broken World to your account for FREE starting now until Sunday at 6pm Pacific! Once you add the game, it will remain in your account permanently.

Eador is a universe made of countless shards of land drifting in the Great Nothing. Each of the shards is a little world unto itself, with geography and denizens of its own. The power over the shards is bitterly contested by Masters, the immortal beings mortals believe to be gods. Take the role of the mighty Master and shape the destiny of Eador! It is in your power to deliver the world from ultimate destruction – or to choke it with an iron fist of tyranny. Eador: Masters of the Broken World is a turn-based fantasy strategy game, where the decisions you make affect the world even deeper than the battles you win.

MechWarrior Online Offers Free Mech

MechWarrior Online Forums have word that Piranha Games is celebrating the release of their Solaris 7 update for the MMO Mech game with a giveaway (thanks Rhialto). Word is everyone who logs in between today and May 1st will receive a free Mech:

We hope you're enjoying all the new features and content included in the Solaris 7 Game Update! To celebrate this game update we wanted to do something extra special, so from April 19th 5:00 PM PST (00:00 UTC) to May 1st 00:00 PST (7 AM UTC) we're giving you a free Solaris 7 Champion 'Mech [Uziel UZL-3P(C)] and 'Mechbay just for patching up and logging into the MechWarrior Online Solaris 7 Game Client!

Laser League Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend is underway for Laser League between now and Monday, an extra-large freebie, as these usually end on Sunday. The game is on sale during that period for 40% off if the sample inspires you to pick up a copy. Here's word on this virtual sports game:

Battle against the opposition for control of nodes that bathe the arena in deadly light. Evade rival coloured beams, and fry your opponents with speed, strength and strategy. Activate special offensive and defensive abilities to give yourself an edge at the crucial moment. Always be on the lookout for game-changing power ups on the arena floor. LASER LEAGUE is the exhilarating, high-octane contact sport of the future.

Known for the award-winning OlliOlli series and NOT A HERO, Roll7 bring their trademark addictive gameplay to an original vision of near-future competition. Like all great sports it is immediately understandable, but rewards dedication with deceptively complex strategic possibilities. Find the perfect blend of classes for your team, and wage neon war online or with up to eight players around a single screen.

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin Released

Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is now available on Steam, offering a virtual reality spin-off of Double Fine's Psychonauts series. The game launches with a 20% discount, and it requires either an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive headset to play. Here's a description:

Once again players will assume the role of Raz, an intrepid young psychic and now fully fledged member of the Psychonauts — an elite group of international psychic secret agents!

The story picks up exactly where it left off at the end of Psychonauts (2005)—with Raz, Lili, Sasha, Milla, and Coach Oleander flying off to rescue Truman Zannotto, the Grand Head of the Psychonauts. Their mission takes them straight into the heart of the Rhombus of Ruin—a mysterious part of the ocean as deadly as two Bermuda Triangles back to back!

When the rescue party itself is kidnapped and held prisoner in the Rhombus, Raz is immobilized and must use only his psychic powers to reunite his friends, reveal the identity of the kidnapper, and free Truman before the madness of the Rhombus consumes all their minds.

Blizzard Launches Balance Gifting

Blizzard News announces that Blizzard Balance Gifting is now available. Blizzard Balance is their term for your money once it's in their hands, so this is basically a cash transfer. And if they are to be believed, this can be the perfect gift for a friend:

Struggling to find the perfect gift for a friend, or just hoping to give them the flexibility to choose their own gifts?

We’re expanding our gifting service by allowing you to send Blizzard Balance to your friends, offering you the benefits of retail gift cards in a new and easy-to-use digital format.

Sending Balance gifts is simple: visit the Blizzard Shop, select one of the suggested values—or enter a custom amount, click the “Gift Balance” button, and select a friend.

Starship Corporation Next Month

Iceberg Interactive announces a May 3rd release date for Starship Corporation, their spaceship design game that's currently in Early Access on Steam. They explain that the Early Access period has led to significant changes: "Having spent 2 years in Early Access Starship Corporation has seen massive improvements. The game has been shaped extensively with help from the community, from their feedback and constructive criticism, for which the Developer has expressed their gratitude. During Early Access, cybernetic organisms were introduced, as were mining and military features. The galaxy map was also redesigned to its current state." They show off the game's updated graphics in this trailer, and the announcement offers further details:

Starship Corporation‘s launch update will add a campaign mode with 99 different business contracts and two different endings based the player’s business relationships, as well as a ship database and two new rooms. Additionally, Russian language support will be added at launch, as well as improved loading/saving times, Steam achievements, and bug and performance fixes.

Starship Corporation is a starship-building simulation game in which you must design and build spaceships for the hugely demanding galaxy-wide market. It is you who must decide which technologies to invest in first, where to open new shipyards and where to establish new markets.

Key Features:

  • Campaign mode with 99 different contracts and two different endings, based on your business dealings.
  • Sandbox Mode with access to all known human settlements in the galaxy, business opportunities for your ships in areas like transport, mining, route-maintenance, security, military and research and racing.
  • 177 unlockable rooms and facilities for ship design
  • 22 unlockable fuselages
  • 24 Missions for standard operation, emergencies and hostile encounters to test your ship in Crew Management

Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr Delay

Bigben, Games Workshop, NeocoreGames, and Maximum Games collectively announce a delay to Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr, saying the Warhammer 40K action/RPG is now due on June 5th after previously being expected on May 11th. Here's the explanation:

Neocore and Bigben, along with Maximum Games, today announce a delay in the release of Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr, previously planned for May 11th. In order to offer players the most seamless gaming experience possible, the game will be released simultaneously on Xbox One, PlayStation®4 and PC on June 5th.
Neocore Games is a development studio based in Budapest whose expertise in Action-RPGs has previously been demonstrated, both on PC and consoles, in "The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing". The team has been working on Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr for three years. It's the very first Action-RPG set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

In Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr, players control an Inquisitor in the Caligari Sector, a region infested with heretics, mutants, and Chaos Daemons. The game, playable in both solo and online cooperative mode with up to 4 players, lets players progress through a persistent universe via numerous missions with varied objectives. The player embodies one of three classes with complementary abilities, each one offering specific skills and varied customizable options. They'll fight across destructible environments which use a cover system that is unique in this type of game, and must survive battles that are both tactical and brutal.

On Sale

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Into the Black

Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass Revealed

Devolver Digital takes the wraps off plans for Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass, saying a new installment in the run-and-gun shooter series is in the works at Croteam. They say this will be officially announced at E3, and in the meantime they offer this teaser trailer, which implies this is more of an open-world game that prior installments. There is also already a Steam listing for this you can add to your wishlist. There's not much there, but the short description supports that open-world notion, saying, "Featuring the world-renowned signature Serious Sam gameplay on a brutally bigger scale, and not a single desert level, Planet Badass will make its debut @ E3 2018." There's a little more in their announcement of plans for an announcement:

Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass reignites the legendary series and elevates the iconic full-throttle action, massive hordes of enemies, and explosive array of weapons to the next level. Please join Croteam and Devolver Digital at E3 2018 for the full game reveal and wishlist now on Steam for the latest news and update on Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass.

Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield 1 Rupture Map Freed; Shock Operations Plans

Battlefield 1 should grab their trusses, as Electronic Arts announces the Rupture is now available, offering all players access to this map in the military shooter. They provide details about this as well as plans to release a new mode called Shock Operations in June that will provide all players access to Premium Pass maps. Here's word:

Today, all players that own Battlefield 1 can jump into Rupture for free, which is a map featured in Battlefield 1 They Shall Not Pass, set during the Second Battle of the Marne and characterized by its poppies growing over rusty wrecks. In addition, the next few months will bring even more free content to all Battlefield 1 players including Soissons in May, also from Battlefield 1 They Shall Not Pass, to tackle one of the biggest tank assaults of World War I.

In June, bit-sized epicness is coming to Battlefield 1 in a new mode, Shock Operations. The mode supports 40 players and sees attackers and defenders battling over sectors like in fan-favorite Operations mode, but with the action focused to one single map - ideal for those that don’t have time for a full Operations match. Shock Operations will be available on five maps: Giant’s Shadow, Prise de Tahure, Lupkow Pass, Zeebrugge, and River Somme. Most of these maps are normally only available to owners of Battlefield 1 Premium Pass or standalone expansion packs. However, base game owners will be able to access them too when playing Shock Operations.

PUBG Getting Map Selection

This Steam post says that the ability to choose which map to play on is almost ready for prime-time in PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS. They explain a couple of reasons this is more complicated this seems on the surface, and describe why they think they've got it worked out:

The UI of this feature may be different when implemented in the actual game, but here’s the basic explanation of how it works:

  • You can select the maps you want to play with a click.
  • If you don’t want to play a map, simply unselect it.
  • If you’ve selected more than one map, the game will randomly pick one for you each time you start a match.

Work on the feature is almost complete, and we plan to release it soon after implementing it on the test server.

As with every feature in PUBG, we’ll continue to make improvements to the map selection feature over time. PUBG will never stop evolving as long as you continue giving us feedback, and we promise to always do our best to provide you with a satisfying and special game experience.

New Ryzen CPU Reviews

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Out of the Blue

I appreciate the concern some of you expressed about the possible effects of taking too much Advil. I also share it, and I got myself to the pharmacy yesterday to get a topical spray for my sore throat. This worked fine until reality set in and what I was hoping would remain a simple throat issue blossomed into a full-blown cold, so now I am a snotty, miserable mess. I have regrets that I didn't pick up something with a decongestant to ease some of these symptoms. I thought I would do that later today, but I ended up going already this morning, so today's update is brought to you by OTC drugs. In a bad bit of timing, it was just a couple of weeks ago that we cleared out the medicine cabinet and got rid of some older cold meds. These were expired to some degree or another, but I certainly wouldn't have been picky about best-by dates if we still had them. Oh well, though it's pretty severe, I'm still hopeful I can kick this fairly quickly, as I feel like this may have already peaked. We shall see.

Cold Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Moto Rider 3D.
Links: MAD Magazine gets a reboot.
Science: Global warming has changed the Great Barrier Reef ‘forever,’ scientists say.
What's Next for NASA's TESS Exoplanet Hunter?
Media: Deadpool 2: The Final Trailer.
Watch traffic flow better in 30 simulations of a 4-way intersection.
If you could hear what your dog is thinking.
Follow-up: Pharma bro Martin Shkreli gets sent to federal prison in New Jersey. Thanks RedEye9.
Southwest Airlines engine explosion linked to prior accident. Thanks RedEye9.
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