Updated: May 27, 2017 11:55 am Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Saturday, May 27, 2017




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Free Weekend for Two VR Games [Updated]

Steam News announces a free weekend is underway for Racket: Nx, an early access VR sports game for the HTC VIVE. Not to be outdone, though probably coincidentally, the Oculus Store is offering a free weekend for BlazeRush, a vehicular football game for Oculus Rift that seems reminiscent of Rocket League. Update: As noted in this post, Racket: Nx has just added Oculus Rift support as well (thanks Nut). Apologies for confusing things.

On Destiny 2 Networking

A post on Bungie.net has further details on networking Destiny 2, following up on the news that the upcoming shooter sequel will not feature dedicated servers. They call how this works a "hybrid" structure, since their servers will handle matchmaking and other management functions, while contact between players will remain peer-to-peer. They have a Q&A with one of the programmers to discuss the pros and cons here, and how they plan to deal with the additional inroads for cheating this allows. Here's a bit:

So why no dedicated servers?
Matt:
Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers. That means you will never again suffer a host migration during your Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center. To understand the foundation on which we’re building, check out this Destiny 1 presentation from GDC. Using the terms from this talk, in Destiny 2, both the Mission Host and Physics Host will run in our data centers.

Wait, so we do have dedicated servers?
Matt:
We don't use that term, because in the gaming community, “dedicated servers” refers to pure client-server networking models. Destiny 2 uses a hybrid of client-server and peer-to-peer technology, just like Destiny 1. The server is authoritative over how the game progresses, and each player is authoritative over their own movement and abilities. This allows us to give players the feeling of immediacy in all their moving and shooting – no matter where they live and no matter whom they choose to play with.

Why peer-to-peer? Are we trying to save money?
Matt:
Nope! We've invested heavily in new server infrastructure for Destiny 2, including using cloud servers for gameplay for the first time. We really believe this is the best model for all of Destiny 2's varied cooperative and competitive experiences. Engineering will always involve tradeoffs and cost-benefit analysis, but as a team we’ve got no regrets about the unique technology we’ve built for Destiny 2.

With Destiny 2 coming out on PC, does peer-to-peer networking put players at risk of being cheated?
Matt:
The PC platform poses unique security challenges for Destiny 2, but our security Ninjas have spent several years building a plan for how to engage with this new and vibrant community. We have a variety of top-secret strategies to ensure that the life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short. And, regardless of what platform you play on, all changes to your persistent character are communicated directly to our secure data center with no peer-to-peer interference.

Dota 2 - The International 2017 Collector's Cache

The Dota 2 blog announces the contents of The International 2017 Collector's Cache for Valve's MOBA:

Available exclusively to Battle Pass owners for $1.99, The International 2017 Collector’s Cache has arrived, brimming with 20 aquatic-themed item sets—and three rare sets—designed to hook a full spread of heroes into the spirit of this year’s event.

Unboxing ten of these treasures automatically grants a token redeemable for any of the non-rare sets contained within, and opening 20 will instantly net you 20 Battle Levels. As usual, the chances for a rare drop increase with each treasure you open, and each purchase contributes directly to The International prize pool.

This treasure is only available for sale until The International concludes. As with last year’s International Collector’s Cache, the items in this treasure are exclusive and cannot be purchased elsewhere. Each set can, however, be gifted once or recycled for 2,000 Battle Points, and the Ultra Rare is marketable.

New Street Fighter V Stage and CFN Next Week

CapCom Unity announces a remastered Spain stage is coming to Street Fighter V as premium DLC for the fighting sequel. There is also a new version of the Capcom Fighter Network coming next week, and they offer details on that as well:

The cage returns! As part of a bevy of new features and updates coming on May 30, Street Fighter V will receive a remastered Spain stage loaded with dancers, musicians and all the requisite flair we’ve enjoyed since its stylish debut in Street Fighter II. And Vega players… yes, you will be able to climb that bad boy. Pick up the Flamenco Tavern starting on May 30 for $3.99 / ¥400 / €3.99 or 70,000 Fight Money. Hit the jump for a full round up of what to expect May 30.

The Thailand stage will also return on May 30 with all-new BGM for $3.99 / ¥400 / €3.99 or 70,000 Fight Money, and was detailed [back in this earlier blog post].

Additionally, May 30 is the day the New CFN rolls out to all online warriors. The New CFN is a massive update to the online SFV experience, [detailed in this earlier blog.] New balance changes, matchmaking improvements and loads of other benefits await – including a whopping 50,000 Fight Money bonus for signing in at any point from May 30 to June 13 PST!

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Corsair Neutron XTi mit 480 und 960 GByte SSD on Technic3D. German.
  • G.SKILL RIPJAWS KM570 MX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on Nikk Tech.
  • HyperX Pulsefire FPS Mouse on APH Networks.
  • OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini Thunderbolt 2 NAS on TweakTown.
  • AMD RX580 Graphics Card Crossfire on LanOC Reviews.

Out of the Blue

It's very nice around here today, hope its the same by you. The weatherman says this will be the best day of the weekend, so I think I'll go hunting (at the store) for something to throw on the grill. Time to unfurl the Manstovia flag and sing the anthem.

R.I.P.: Former U.S. national security adviser Brzezinski dies at 89.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Shoot N Scroll 3D.
Science: Our galaxy produces 9 trillion kilograms of antimatter a second—how?
Media: There’s a Strontium Dog fan film, and it’s very good. Thanks Neutronbeam.
French Crosswalk PSA.
Angry pedestrian gets instant karma. "Gonna knock you right on the head."
Follow-up: Viral video of girl snatched by sea lion raises “seal finger” awareness.


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Friday, May 26, 2017

More on Far Cry 5

There's another update on Far Cry 5 on the UbiBlog following today's big info dump on the upcoming shooter sequel. This includes today's sixth new video on the game featuring an interview with Executive Producer and Creative Director Dan Hay sharing more details on the project. The accompanying post discusses character customization, pets, and more:

The curtain has officially been lifted on Far Cry 5, revealing more details on the game’s setting, as well as The Project at Eden’s Gate and the resistance that’s trying to free Hope County from the cult. Several details have also been revealed about the gameplay. For starters, this will be the first Far Cry where you can create your character and customize them to your liking before setting out into the world – either solo or cooperatively with another player – across the full campaign. Additionally, to aid you in your fight against Eden’s Gate and Joseph Seed, you can enlist the help of up to three Guns for Hire and their special skills. If you prefer furrier companions, Fangs for Hire give you the ability to recruit animals and have them do your bidding.

You’ll have the freedom to explore Hope County and take on missions when and how you want, too, and whatever actions you take will ultimately affect the game’s Resistance Meter and consequently the game world. This means new gameplay opportunities will manifest as you take the fight to Eden’s Gate in their own backyard, and eventually draw out The Heralds – Joseph Seed’s siblings, who control various aspects the cult.

Continue here to read the full story.

EVERSPACE Launches

EVERSPACE is now available in full release on GOG.com and Steam after an early access run for the sci-fi roguelike-like. This post has all the details on what's changed between the end of EA and version 1.0. Here's the launch trailer with some gameplay footage, and here's word on the game:

EVERSPACE™ is an action-focused single-player space shooter combining roguelike elements with top-notch visuals and a captivating non-linear story. It takes you on a challenging journey through an ever-changing, yet beautifully crafted universe full of surprises. Your skills, experience and talent for improvisation will be tested continuously while learning about your own existence through encounters with interesting characters, each having their own part of the puzzle to tell. Each run will be exciting as you will have to face completely new situations keeping each part of the game long-lasting and generating lots of individual, meaningful moments to experience.

  • Roguelike space shooter with persistent progression
  • Three player ships with in-depth upgrade and damage system
  • Captivating non-linear storytelling featuring interesting characters

Continue here to read the full story.

Titanfall 2 DLC Next Week

A new trailer from Titanfall 2 shows off gameplay from Monarch's Reign, a new DLC pack coming to the mech shooter. The Frontier News Network has word that this is coming on May 30th, and offers details on the new Monarch titans it will introduce. The video's description has all the details:

Get ready to roll out the red carpet for the latest DLC pack coming to Titanfall 2: Monarch’s Reign. This DLC features the addition of the 7th multiplayer Titan: Monarch, the IMC’s attempt to reverse-engineer the Militia's Vanguard-class Titan with a decided focus on flexibility through survival and support options. The Monarch is unlike any other Titan and features a unique Upgrade Core, which allows her to improve her combat abilities during a battle based on options set by her Pilot. Monarch also has an impressive ability to draw power from enemy Titans to recharge her own shields, or the shields of her friendly Titans.

Monarch’s Reign also brings the return of Relic; a classic map from Titanfall set among the old wreck of the IMC carrier IMS Odyssey. This remastered map features a worksite where Pilots have created clever wall running routes by hanging pieces of the wreckage between buildings.

The Monarch’s Reign DLC pack also brings new cosmetic items for purchase, including the debut of Ronin Prime and Tone Prime. Ronin Prime charges the field with a samurai-inspired aesthetic including a visual-upgrade for his sword so he may more stylishly pierce the heavens (and enemy Titans). As the cherry blossoms fall across the battlefield, don’t forget to check out the Monarch’s Reign Camo Pack, inspired by World War 2 “dazzle camouflage” with broad patterns and striking colors to keep your opponent guessing. New Art Packs are now available for each Titan, as well as a new Callsign Pack.

Continue here to read the full story.

StarSmashers Launches

StarSmashers is now available on Steam, offering a turn-based action/strategy game featuring space exploration and combat in giant starships. You can get a look at how this plays out in this video, and if you like what you see, the game is 10% off for the next week. Here are some details:

The galaxy is in peril as Kaldor Seth and his legions wreak havoc. The Starship Space Beagle and her crew are the only thing standing between Kaldor Seth and the innocents of the galaxy. Do you have what it takes to stand up where many have failed?

StarSmashers is a fast-paced action strategy game that has you volley with enemy ships with tactical speed. Upgrade your ship and exploit enemy weaknesses while maintaining your ship. Each volley is limited so think fast and always plan your next move. One mistake or a slow reaction can leave you as just another wreckage in the wake of chaos.

Starsmashers is a turn based action strategy game that sees players at the helm of the Starship 'Space Beagle', tasked with wrestling back control of the galaxy from evil emperor, Kaldor Seth and his army of interstellar allies.

Fighting through five star systems, the Beagle and her crew will encounter new races, advanced spaceships and vast planets as they battle towards a final showdown with Kaldor Seth. Along the way they’ll discover new weapons and advanced technology, allowing them to upgrade the Beagle and take on terrifying new enemies in epic tactical combat. They’ll also make contact with a mysterious race of aliens, creators of a technology that could help them defeat Seth once and for all…

Key features:

  • High octane space combat – epic battles that demand tactical decision making and quick reflexes…
  • Ship upgrades and augments – loot new technologies and upgrade the Space Beagle. Pick the right weapons for maximum damage, and the right shields to keep the enemy at bay…
  • Epic encounters – huge variety of alien races and ships, all inspired by classic 1970s Chris Fosse artwork…
  • Five star systems to explore – discover vibrant gas nebulae, mysterious alien planets and derelict space stations…

Nadia Was Here is Here

Steam now offers Nadia Was Here, a crowdfunded RPG for Windows and macOS that harkens back to the glory days of 8-bit and 16-bit graphics. The release trailer shows this off, and this post from the one-man development team covers the release:

Today marks a very special day, as Nadia was Here is now available for purchase! People around the world can finally play and experience the project I've been working on for over 5 years.

To celebrate this special event, the game has a 10% launch discount for limited time only. I've also released a brand new trailer showing you the features of Nadia was Here.

Hope you'll enjoy the game as much as I've enjoyed developing it. If you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to ask them in the community hub and I will respond promptly.

I'm off to celebrate the release of Nadia was Here with my friends and family!

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Vostok Inc. - Steam Greenlight. "Are you ready to blast your way through armies of galactic space aliens as a corrupt, greedy, narcissistic yuppie – while accumulating billions, trillions [NO, WAIT!] ... *sextillions* of Moolah? Of course you would. Then vote for Vostok Inc. on Steam Greenlight. Then just sit back and look smug knowing that you’ve done your good deed for the day." Here's a new Greenlight gameplay trailer.

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Veritasium - Worlds Heaviest Weight. More NIST porn.

Far Cry 5 in February

Ubisoft officially announces Far Cry 5, saying the first-person shooter sequel is "coming to America's heartland" on February 27, 2018. This confirms the recently revealed setting of Hope, Montana, a fictional county in the allegedly actual state, where you will take on a group of armed cultists. There's more on this in the UbiBlog, where they offer information along with this interview trailer with details on the game and how difficult it may be to survive the game's environment. They also have an official announce trailer that sets the tone for the game. They also feature some trailers introducing some of the characters you will team up with your resistance against the cult: Mary May, Pastor Jerome Jeffries, and Nick Rye. Here's the announcement:

Today, Ubisoft® announced that gamers will experience the chaos, unpredictability and ferociousness of the Far Cry franchise with Far Cry® 5 on PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4, the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, and Windows PC. Set in America for the first time, in Montana, players will have total freedom to navigate this serene-looking yet deeply twisted world solo or entirely in two-player co-op as they fight for survival and freedom, when the game releases on February 27, 2018. Development for Far Cry 5 is being led by Ubisoft Montreal*.

As the new junior deputy of fictional Hope County, Montana, players will find that their arrival accelerates a years-long silent coup by a fanatical doomsday cult, the Project at Eden's Gate, igniting a violent takeover of the county. Caught off guard and drawn into a power struggle, players must disrupt the carefully laid plans of the Project at Eden’s Gate and fan the fires of resistance to help liberate the Hope County community and themselves.

Under siege and cut off from the rest of the world, players will join forces with residents of Hope County and form the Resistance. The fight against the cult will take players to unique locations throughout Hope County that provide different gameplay experiences. During their journey, players can fly planes to engage cult forces in aerial dogfights across Big Sky Country. While tracking down cult members and gathering resources for survival across farmland, forests, mountains and rivers, players can get behind the wheel of iconic American muscle cars, big rigs, ATVs and boats. Vehicles also provide refuge when under attack by animals or as a way to quickly escape when things don’t go as planned.

To take down the cult, players will need to utilize any and all weapons at their disposal, including ranged weapons such as guns and grenades and melee weapons like a sledgehammer or baseball bat. Additionally, players can recruit Guns for Hire from a large cast of characters, or even Fangs for Hire, specialized animals like bears and cougars to complement players’ playstyles whether they’re going in stealthily or forcefully. How players approach each situation and the chaos they create in Far Cry 5 is up to them. Far Cry 5 will also see the return of the map editor, giving players the opportunity to create and play an infinite amount of new playgrounds. The map editor will include new features that add a new dimension to the content created by fans, with more details coming soon.

Additionally, players on PlayStation®4 system will get free content with purchase of the game at launch. Players on Xbox and PC systems will have the same content available through the Ubisoft Club.

Continue here to read the full story.

Overwatch Free This Weekend

The GeForce website reminds us that a couple of weeks ago Blizzard announced this weekend Overwatch is free-to-play on all platforms. That previous announcement says the free weekend for the first-person shooter should get underway at 2:00 pm EDT. Here's part of that:

Attention, recruits! If you haven't already had the opportunity to suit up and save the world as one of the heroes of Overwatch, now's your chance.

From May 26–29, we're calling on all prospective agents: assemble your team and dive in during the Overwatch Free Weekend on PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One!

For this free weekend, we're making Overwatch's full roster of 24 heroes and 14 maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options.

Plus, if you decide to purchase Overwatch after test driving the game, you'll get to keep any progress that you made during the weekend—just be sure to use the same Blizzard, Sony Entertainment, or Xbox Live account that you played on.

RiME Time

Publishers Grey Box and Six Foot and developer Tequila Works announce the release of RiME, their puzzle/adventure game for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, saying a Switch version is expected later this year. They mark the occasion with a new launch trailer and the following announcement:

Grey Box, Six Foot and independent developer Tequila Works have released the single-player puzzle adventure game RiME as a physical and digital title on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC for a suggested retail price of $29.99 / €34.99 / £29.99.

“We’re deeply thankful for everyone who believed in this day – our loyal fans, our partners at Grey Box and Six Foot, and the incredibly talented team here at Tequila Works,” said Tequila Works CEO and creative director Raúl Rubio Munárriz. “Your patience, passion and faith gave us the strength and support to see this story through to the end. We look forward to all the new adventures that begin today.”

Experienced through the eyes of a young boy shipwrecked alone on a mysterious island, RiME delivers an emotional journey of exploration and discovery. The game takes inspiration from a variety of sources, including literature like The Little Prince, the films of Studio Ghibli and Ray Harryhausen, the art of Joaquín Sorolla, and the gorgeous terrain of the Mediterranean coast. Players will encounter wild creatures, ancient ruins, forgotten secrets and thoughtful puzzles that play with light, sound, perspective and even time itself.

"RiME is a game that will add to the budding influence of the Grey Box brand," says Christian Svensson, COO at Six Foot. “RiME's beauty and power, we believe, will leave an enduring mark on all who embark upon this touching journey.”

Continue here to read the full story.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Trailer

A new official full-length trailer for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 offers a cinematic romp through the upcoming action/adventure sequel. This features a mix of the characters featured heavily in the recent MCU movies like the Guardians of the Galaxy; Doctor Strange; and Ant-Man, as well as characters only familiar from the comics themselves, like Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, Captain Marvel, and Kang the Conqueror. Here's the accompanying description of the game:

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is an all-new, epic adventure and sequel to the smash hit, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. This original branching storyline, co-written by comic book veteran Kurt Busiek, transports players into a cosmic battle across a myriad of Marvel locations ripped from time and space into the incredible open hub world of Chronopolis. Packed with signature LEGO humor for fans of all ages, gamers will go head-to-head with the time-travelling Kang the Conqueror through Ancient Egypt, The Old West, Sakaar, New York City in 2099 and many other Marvel settings.

Continue here to read the full story.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Patched

After announcing a delay to their planned monthly patch, a tweet from PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS says the new patch is now live for the battle royale game (thanks Bludd). Invoking Professor Farnsworth, they say: "Good news everyone! We will be pushing the monthly update to the Stable Servers at 1PM UTC / 3PM CEST / 6AM PDT / 10PM KST." This tweet says the new update is now live, while this one mentions another patch they've pushed out to address some issues. They also note they are making server-side adjustments to address lag issues, but that these will not fully fix them. They explain they will spend the month on these issues and attack them more directly in the June patch, asking that we bear with this process, and thanking us for our presumed patience. This previous Steam post has all the patch notes (thanks Batman). These are extensive, so here are the significant gameplay changes:

Content
Added VSS. A suppressed sniper rifle with permanent 4X scope & chambered for 9mm ammo. This new weapon can be found in carepackages & as a very rare loot spawn
Added Motorbike

Gameplay
Reduced the moving speed of the two final play zones for better engagement during the endgame
Made a balance pass on certain weapons:
Vector
Reduced bullet damage slightly
Increased deviation gain per shot
Winchester/S686/S12K
Reduced pellet damage slightly
AKM
Increased bullet damage slightly
Fixed an issue where the players alive count would reduce when a player disconnected. Now the count will only go down upon the players death.

Action & Gunplay
Now players can put stock attachments on following weapons:
SKS : Sniper rifle cheek pad
Vector : Tactical stock (for M416)
Adjusted the color of the aiming point for the basic crossbow scope.
Added new scope rendering method (parallax free) allowing for greater aiming precision
https://twitter.com/PUBATTLEGROUNDS/status/866621003350265857
Improved ADS view
Modified recoil for following weapons: AKM, SCAR, M16, M416
Fixed an issue allowing a player to zoom in with right click when waiting before throwing a grenade
Decreased the time to ADS when using the 2X scope

Super Mega Baseball 2 in September

Metalhead Software announces a September release for Super Mega Baseball 2, their sports sim sequel. This timing seems odd, since the Major League Baseball season will conclude at the end of that month, but there it is. They provide a new video discussing the game's art style with a look at how stadiums and players are depicted, and showing off some alpha gameplay. Here's their description of the game:

Super Mega Baseball 2 builds upon the original by adding a more realistic presentation, a bevy of new customizable features (players, teams, leagues, etc) and the launch of online multiplayer. The sequel looks to continue the success of the original award-winning Super Mega Baseball - which earned an 85 Metacritic score and won numerous “Sports Game of the Year” honors - by maintaining and improving the game's fantastic original mechanics (Ego system, mojo mechanic, infield slow down, pitching system).

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today kicks off the Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S., so bearing in mind the somber nature of the occasion, here's hoping you enjoy yourself if you are heading somewhere for the holiday. This probably means things will be quiet today, but you never can tell. Though summer is still a few weeks off, this is considered the unofficial start of the season around here, and the way these unofficial deals have worked around here lately, I would expect extreme heat to begin as of this moment, but the forecast looks seasonably mild for the foreseeable future, so there's good news on that hot front.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Formula Online.
The Great Tsunami Thief.
Science: During a hospital stay, all microbial hell breaks loose on you and the walls.
U.S. death rate from Alzheimer’s rose dramatically over 15 years. Why?
Media: Honest Trailers - Logan (Feat. Deadpool) - 200th Episode.
Ben Affleck Imitates Christian Bale's Batman.
Demolition oops. (NSFW).



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