Updated: Jul 26, 2016 1:27 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016



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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance & Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 on Steam

Activision announces that Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is now available on Steam, offering a Windows edition of the superhero action/adventure sequel. They mark the occasion with the rerelease of the original Marvel: Ultimate Alliance on Steam and they offer a bundle of both games with a discount. Here's an Ultimate Alliance 2 trailer, and here's word:

Featuring a cast of over 22 playable characters, the first Marvel: Ultimate Alliance lets players create their own teams of heroes from the Marvel Universe, or recreate their favorite existing ones, like the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and more. Experience a story starring more than 140 legendary characters, including Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, Loki, Wolverine, Doctor Doom, Ultron and many others. Customize and upgrade these mighty squads of champions to unleash upon the single-player campaign, or in cooperative and competitive online and local multiplayer for up to four players.

Set within the climactic events of Marvel Comics’ Civil War story arc, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 throws players into the struggle for or against the infamous Superhuman Registration Act. The missions, challenges, and threats players face are affected by which side of the conflict they choose. Like its predecessor, the game lets players assemble and level up their own Marvel Universe dream teams from over 24 playable characters, each with specialized abilities that can be combined for amazing results. Play alone in single-player, or battle together in online and local co-op with up to four friends.

Continue here to read the full story.

More Win10 Concerns from Tim Sweeney

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is continuing his crusade to warn gamers about what he feels are the potential dangers and pitfalls of Microsoft's Windows 10 strategy, saying he believes the company will continue to patch the operating system to impede the usefulness of third-party services such as Steam. His latest thoughts on the topic are revealed in an interview in Edge Magazine, and PC Gamer has relevant quotes and excerpts. "The risk here is that, if Microsoft convinces everybody to use UWP, then they phase out Win32 apps," Sweeney explains. "If they can succeed in doing that then it’s a small leap to forcing all apps and games to be distributed through the Windows Store. Once we reach that point, the PC has become a closed platform. It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones." He goes on to postulate that this will be a gradual but intentional process on Microsoft's part, presuming the plan doesn't go all Zune on them:

"Slowly, over the next five years, they will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken. They’ll never completely break it, but will continue to break it until, in five years, people are so fed up that Steam is buggy that the Windows Store seems like an ideal alternative. That’s exactly what they did to their previous competitors in other areas. Now they’re doing it to Steam. It’s only just starting to become visible. Microsoft might not be competent enough to succeed with their plan, but they’re certainly trying."

Stronghold Kingdoms Steam Edition Revealed

Firefly Studios reveals their Gamescom plans, saying they will attend the show and demonstrate two products, a mobile edition of Stronghold Kingdoms as well as Stronghold Legends: Steam Edition, an upgraded version of the siege warfare strategy game. They offer a trailer showing off the Andoid and iOS editions of the strategy game, and provide some details on how the Steam Edition of the game enhances the original:

Stronghold Legends: Steam Edition (PC) – To be announced/released at Gamescom

  • Free for all existing owners of the game
  • Enhanced visuals
  • Bonus campaigns and maps
  • New Steam-exclusive features
  • Multiplayer restored/rebuilt

Telltale's Multiplayer Plans

Telltale Games plans to add social multiplayer elements to their games in the future, revealing this at Comic-Con where Inverse got the details on how this will work (thanks Eurogamer.net). Here's word on how they will turn their episodic adventures into collaborative affairs:

“It really opens up this door for Telltale games to be more of a social experience and a live one, [making it] an opportunity to get together with your friends and play stories together, instead of just debating about things the next day after you’ve both played separately,” Stauffer noted, mentioning that players will also be able to see which players in a session chose what after the episode is over.

“Even if players chose certain options, and they didn’t win because they were in the minority, you can see sort of how these players were leaning and what their behavior was,” he explained.

In any case, the approach is a natural evolution of what Telltale has always strived for.

“All of our games are built in the language of cinema,” Stauffer said. “So, it’s meant to be consumed on a screen, it’s meant to be consumed and observed and interacted with in a language thats just the same as how people consume television and movies. I think all roads have been leading to this point.”

More Grand Theft Auto Online Cunning Stunts

Rockstar Games announces the addition of a new content today to Grand Theft Auto Online as part of the Cunning Stunts add-on. There are also plans to give out bonus bucks and more to players this week, and there will also be premium races this weekend with game cash prizes. Here's the deal:

Today, five new Stunt Races join the roster of GTA Online: Cunning Stunts, taking you and your appetite for high-flying, daring, stunting action everywhere from the peaks of Mount Chiliad to the shores of Vespucci. And next week, the official launch of the Stunt Race Creator tool will harness the talents of the amazing Creator community to usher in a whole new era of player-made mayhem. Check out a brief overview of this week's new Stunt Races below, and read on for details on three new vehicles, this week's bonuses and more.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

On a weird impulse I recently picked up a Rubik's Cube, deciding it might be fun to finally learn how to do one, especially since it seems to emphasize some sort of thinking my brain doesn't really do. It was pretty easy to learn the first half of what's apparently the simplest solution, but to master the end of it would require memorizing a few slightly complex formulas, so that will be a challenge. I'm not sure I'll actually be willing to memorize enough of what you need to to work this, but I do feel it would almost be worth it for the possibility that I would come across one someday and casually solve it to that amazement of the admiring crowd. I guess it is proof of geekdom that this is what I think would be impressive, as opposed to, say, dunking a basketball.

Impressive Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Quest for Pancake.
Stories: Harrison Ford's leg, in the Star Wars film, with the Millennium Falcon door.
Science: Little Threat of Zika Spread From Rio Olympics: Study.
How a weird Mars rock may be solid proof of an ancient oxygen atmosphere.
Media: Conan Busts Chris Hardwick For Playing Pokémon Go On Stage.
Home Alone Co-Star resurfaces after 26 years.
[Parody] Chewbacca Mom! - Minecraft - Star Wars.
Lightning Strike Hits Pole in Chicago. July 24th 2016.


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Monday, Jul 25, 2016

Quake Champions Trailer

Bethesda.net now offers a this new trailer celebrating the return of Quake in Quake Champions, the upcoming new installment in id Software's Shooter series. The clip features concept art, cinematics, and thoughts on the game from id's Tim Willits. Here's word:

After a rousing reveal at E3 2016, Quake Champions has ignited interest amongst Quake aficionados and newcomers alike. But what exactly is Quake Champions? We chat with id Software’s Studio Director Tim Willits to get the lowdown straight from the source. Willits tells us how Quake Champions not only captures the spirit of the original games but also brings the storied shooter into the modern era with the addition of Champions. Along with new insights into each of the four revealed Champions – Ranger, Visor, Nyx and Scalebearer – Willits also shares his personal favorite of the bunch.

Continue here to read the full story.

Battlezone 98 Redux Expansion

Rebellion announces the release of The Red Odyssey, a new expansion for Battlezone 98 Redux, the first-person action/strategy remake. This is available on GOG.com and on Steam, with each site offering a launch discount. You can get a look at what this adds in this trailer, and here's word:

Lovingly remastered by Big Boat Interactive in California, The Red Odyssey expands Battlezone’s alternative space-race lore with two new factions - The NSDF Black Dogs and the Chinese Red Army – as they fight a deadly campaign of vehicular warfare and cloaked ambushes to control powerful portal technology linking our solar system to the mysterious exoplanet of Elysium ...

The Red Odyssey expansion offers dozens of hours of new content including:

  • Two new singleplayer campaigns across two planets and 23 missions
  • Over 30 new vehicles and buildings to take into battle
  • 5 new multiplayer maps, FREE for all players, not just owners of The Red Odyssey
  • Completely remastered visuals, remodelled vehicles, enhanced lighting, detailed terrain and much more ...

Continue here to read the full story.

Supreme Ruler Trump Rising DLC Tomorrow

Battlegoat Studios announces Trump Rising, a new DLC pack to be released tomorrow for Supreme Ruler Ultimate, their Windows and OS X RTS game on Steam. As you may have inferred, this plays a trump card ripped from today's headlines with the addition of The Donald to the game. Here's word:

Within the United States, civil unrest fueled by racial tensions reaches even higher than in the 1960's. To China and Russia, the new US President seems so unpredictable and reckless that it seems logical to make a pre-emptive strike rather than wait for him to have a 'bad hair day' and launch a strike against them. In Western Europe, leaders are shaken by their new reality and realize they may have to make concessions to Russia now that America can no longer be relied upon. The European Union itself is in disarray as the UK prepares to leave and forge its own relationships. In Mexico, and even in Canada, militaries are brought to an unprecedented level of readiness over concern of Trump's ambitions.

How will this play out? Will you assume Trump's role as the new US leader and guide America to renewed Greatness? Or will you instead lead another nation and take advantage of a potentially dysfunctional America to further your own ambition?

This DLC adds the following to Supreme Ruler Ultimate:

  • New Sandbox starting on US Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017
  • Updated "Modern World" relationships, leaders, and regional economies
  • Take control as President Donald Trump, or try to minimize the damage as another World Leader
  • Build the Trump Wall - although you may have to pay for it yourself
  • Encourage regional growth with the Trump Tower economic development zones

Tanki X Announced

Developer AlternativaPlatform announces plans to launch open beta testing later this summer for Tanki X, their upcoming casual MMO tank combat game that will be released free-to-play for Windows, OS X , and Linux. They offer this gameplay trailer to show off the game's Unity engine graphics, and urge everyone interested in what they see to sign up here. Here's word on the game:

TANKI X is all about fast-paced futuristic tank combat against real players. This is not some detail-heavy simulation with bricks for manuals and hundreds of statistics to memorize. Tanki X is easy to jump into, easy to play, and offers fast and furious gameplay with fully customizable futuristic tanks across a collection of exciting and dynamic arenas. By winning battles, players gain experience points and unlock more powerful equipment, making them deadlier in the arena. But in Tanki X, it isn’t just about who’s got the bigger gun... players need tactical prowess, skill, and nerves of steel to be victorious!

Players can build their tanks from a variety of parts, mounting Gatling guns, flamethrowers, and other high-tech turrets upon a variety of hulls, such as the light and nimble “Wasp” to the impenetrable “Titan”, then pit their battle machines against tankers from all over the world. Matches can be played in teams or solo, including PvP modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag.

Continue here to read the full story.

LawBreakers Video

LawBreakers website now offers a new video called Play The Assassin from LawBreakers, the first-person shooter in the works at Boss Key Studios. This is a short introduction to the character, which they describe like so, "You can run but you can't hide. Kitsune on the Breakers side and Hellion on the Law side is our Assassin Role. Swift, stealthy, and deadly." They urge those interested in this first-person shooter to sign up for future alpha testing. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

  • POLYGOD -- Steam Greenlight. "PolyGod is a rogue-like, randomly generated FPS where you are an assassin known only as 'Faceless the Blessed'. You must battle the minions of malignant Gods and their Holy Champions in an epic event known as the Trial of the Gods." Here's a trailer.
  • WarpBall – PixelFunder. New game campaign on new crowdfunding platform (more on that in the PixelFunder FAQ). "Inspired by the retro classic Speedball 2, Monday Night Combat and the cult hit Cellfactor Psychokinetic Wars, WarpBall is an online and local multiplayer that brings the fun and accessibility back into sports games."

Evening Patches

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

PC Gears of War 4 Details

Digital Foundry's Gears of War 4 Tech Interview is online, discussing the next installment in the shooter series. There is an earlier article on Eurogamer focusing on some of the details about plans for a PC edition, suggesting it won't be an afterthought this time around (thanks VG247). Here are some of the excerpted comments from Mike Rayner, technical director for The Coalition

"Our focus on PC is to deliver a highly optimised, customisable experience first and foremost," Rayner tells us.

"Support for v-sync tearing has recently come to UWP and we will be able to offer proper unlocked frame-rate support that gamers expect on day one. With Unreal Engine 4 and our own custom modifications, we can take much better advantage of multiple CPU cores, alleviating the game from being CPU-bound and allowing more room for the GPU to shine with enhanced visual quality or higher framerates. Single-player will not be locked to 30fps on PC."

Our analysis of the Gears of War E3 stage demo shows a rock-solid 30fps presentation at full 1080p resolution. The demo was confirmed by The Coalition as running on Xbox One hardware, and it looks as though the developers are repurposing console features in intriguing ways for the PC version.
Rayner also listed "a few items of note" the team are adding to the PC version. In his own words:

  • Dynamic resolution support (any resolution will be supported with a sensible dynamic field of view - including ultra-wide).
  • Increased texture resolution (up to 4K resolution for select texture groups).
  • A benchmark mode.
  • Full keyboard/mouse input remapping (including cover/run and roll split).
  • Far more comprehensive video settings.

"Today we sit at 28 different settings and we're thinking of ways to add more for people to really have full control," Rayner tells us. "Along with more settings, we're putting extra time into making it clear what impact a setting will have on GPU/CPU/VRAM so there is a clear correlation between a setting change and its performance impact."

8 Million Heroes & Generals

Coincidental with the second anniversary of the game's launch on Steam, Heroes & Generals celebrates another milestone, as developer Reto-Moto announces the World War II MMOFPS now boasts more than eight million registered players. "We built Heroes & Generals from the ground up to be a unique World War II game, and to surpass 8 million players is an achievement that makes everyone at Reto-Moto proud," says Martin Pollas, CEO at Reto-Moto. "To see players having fun in the game every day is a continuous inspiration to the small but very dedicated team of game developers at Reto-Moto striving to make the game even better." A new post from today outlines the latest plans for the free-to-play game, showing off an upcoming new heavy variant on the medium Sherman tank.

U.K. Sales Charts

Football Manager 2016 has a toehold at number one on the GFK Chart-Track U.K. PC top 30 chart after kicking The Sims 4 out of the top spot. On the all platforms top 40 for the week ending July 23rd LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens retains the top spot and FIFA 16 jumps to number two. This write-up has all the details:

Warner’s ‘Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (-39%) holds on to No1 for a fourth week in a row.

It now just needs one more to equal the record of 5 consecutive weeks for a Lego title (‘Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes’ with 5 weeks back in 2012). There are no new releases within the Top 40 and overall sales drop -29% over last week, partly due to summer holidays and partly due to the spike from the special retail shopping event during last week. As such we see EA’s ‘FIFA 16’ up 5 places to No2 (-13%), followed at No3 by Activision Blizzard’s ‘Overwatch’ which climbs 1 place (-30%). Last week’s big new entry, Capcom’s 3DS ‘Monster Hunter Generations’ (-66%) drops 6 places to No9. The Pokemon Go mobile phenomenon continues to affect Pokemon 3DS software sales and 3 Pokemon 3DS games re-enter the Top 40: ‘Pokemon Omega Ruby’ (No17), ‘Pokemon Alpha Sapphire’ (No24) and ‘Pokemon Y’ (No29). This week is the first full sales week since the mobile game was launched in UK, which means that August will show a remarkable spike in Pokemon sales and 3DS software and hardware, plus Nintendo’s share of the market.

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I finished my antibiotics on Friday, and am pretty confident that the last of my Lyme symptoms are gone. This was pretty good timing, because being a skinny dude I normally handle the hot weather pretty well, but the disease had severely curtailed my superpower in this regard, so my ability to withstand the heat returned just in time for the current heat wave. I did make an error in not doing enough to protect myself from the sun, which is one of the things one should do when on antibiotics, and while I managed to avoid a sunburn, the farmer's tan on my arms is pretty ridiculous.

Burnt Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Sum Tracks 2.
Story: Rio Olympics: Australia boycott 'uninhabitable' athletes' village.
Science: Were Ants the World's First Farmers? Thanks reddit.
The scientific arms race to age our whiskey.
Media: The Illusion of Truth - Veritasium.
Dog hates being flipped off.
Never Piss Off a Mama Raccoon.
The Funnies: Summer Is Here - FoxTrot.



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