Updated: Jan 21, 2017 10:50 am Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Saturday, Jan 21, 2017



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Dota 2 UI Changes

A post on the Dota 2 blog details new changes to the in-game interface for Valve's MOBA. These patch notes have all the details on the new version, and here is their outline of UI changes:

Shop Interface
The in-game Shop interface has been reworked to restore the item grid to the right-side orientation with hero guides extending to the left, and popular items are now highlighted directly in the item grid. Popular items are dynamically created and updated based on the top items purchased by players with an MMR of 5,000 and higher. Additionally, all players have a row of global customizable pinned items under the grid that can be set to match personal item preferences for quicker access.

Hero Control Console
We’ve made adjustments to the Hero Control Console layout to accommodate several changes, including making hero attributes always visible and showing both the base and bonus values for damage, armor, and attributes by default. We’ve also increased the size of HP/Mana bars, increased the area for multi-unit selection, and introduced multi-unit icons that scale dynamically based on the initial number of units selected.

Hotkey Support
We’ve restored the option to activate the Learn Ability mode with a hotkey. In addition, hotkey support is now available for opening the Hero Talent Tree to select the left or right Talent branch.

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • AeroCool Project 7 Case on Technic3D.
  • ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1060 Graphics Card on Vortez.
  • Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L Keyboard on APH Networks.
  • Creative Sound BlasterX Siege M04 Gaming Mouse on eTeknix.
  • Fnatic Gear Clutch G1 Mouse on LAN OC.
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus Smart Phone on TechSpot.
  • Noontec TerraMaster D4-310 4-Bay USB Type-C DAS on eTeknix.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Need a hug? You're in luck, as today is Happy National Hugging Day in the U.S. This is something that's catching on, as the Wiki says this is "celebrated" in other countries now as well. Now get out there and do your part. Well, maybe take a shower first.

Huggy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Rogue Quest 2.
Stories: Donald Trump Quoted Bane from The Dark Night Rises in His Inaugural Address.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Is Selling Jade Eggs For Your Vagina. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: With Trump in Charge, Climate Change References Purged From Website.
Media: FINAL FANTASY XV (Honest Game Trailers).
Resident Evil Franchise Recap - With Milla Jovovich.
Where does my dog go all day?
Follow-up: A Totally Free EpiPen Alternative Will Soon Hit the Market.
A Dog's Purpose Author W. Bruce Cameron Speaks Out About Controversial Video.


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Friday, Jan 20, 2017

Pro Basketball Manager 2017 Tips Off

Steam now offers Pro Basketball Manager 2017, the latest installment in this sports simulation series from Umix and Cyanide Studios. This carries an introductory discount, and there is an additional price break for owners of Pro Basketball Manager 2016. Here's word on the game and improvements over the previous version:

The most complete basketball management game is back! Take on the role of coach of your own team with Pro Basketball Manager 2017.

Start your career as head of the team of your choice, be they rookies or legends, and lead your players to victory! For this, you must not only recruit and train your players, but you must also take part in live games, giving on-court instructions. You must also ensure successful day-to-day operations by managing club finances or by improving your stadium.

All global competitions have been faithfully transcribed: the North American league, European Championships, and even the World Cup.

Basketball fans, manage your team from your PC with the greatest possible realism, thanks to Pro Basketball Manager 2017!

  • Rosters for the 2016/2017 season with more than 70 competitions and 20,000 players worldwide!
  • Fuller immersion with end-of-day reports, more detailed messages, information on records (records broken, records of the best players in the history of each competition etc.)
  • More realistic recruiting: player and team recruiting AI has been completely redesigned in order to generate more realistic behavior.
  • An overhaul of scout reports and player notations: your scouts now provide a comprehensive review of each player to help you with your recruiting.
  • Graphical improvements to 2D and 3D games for greater on-court immersion.
  • Integration of the Steam Workshop allowing players to share their databases and to customize the game!

GDC Lifetime Achievement Award for Tim Sweeney

The Game Developers Conference website has word that Epic's Tim Sweeney will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony at GDC 2017. This will be awarded on March 1st in a ceremony that will be livestreamed on Twitch. The announcement includes this rundown on Tim's accomplishments:

While serving as the founder and CEO of a renamed Epic, Sweeney was the main architect of the first-generation Unreal Engine. This game engine was originally created for the 1998 PC game Unreal. But it became the underpinning for a slew of acclaimed games, initially in the Unreal franchise and increasingly licensed outside of Epic, including the BioShock series, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed, and the Batman: Arkham series.

Sweeney also worked to make the Unreal Engine extensible via UnrealScript, a spiritual successor to his object-oriented scripting language for ZZT. This simple way for non-coders to get complex creations made easily led to extensive and creative player modding of games – one of the earliest blossoming of user-generated content.

But it also led to easier adaptations of the engine – which has now had four major iterations – to other games. These include Epic’s own titles such as Gears of War, Paragon and Fortnite, as well as notable independently created games such as Rocket League, Abzū, Astroneer and ARK: Survival Evolved. The engine is now being adapted by non-game development teams across the automotive, aviation, architecture, VR/AR, complex data visualization and film sectors.

Sweeney joins the roster of previous Lifetime Achievement Award recipients which includes Todd Howard, Shigeru Miyamoto, Warren Spector, John Carmack, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Hideo Kojima, Sid Meier, Ken Kutaragi, Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Peter Molyneux, among others.

Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement award are chosen by the Game Developers Choice Awards Advisory Committee, which includes notable game industry leaders such as Mark Cerny (Cerny Games), Doug Lombardi (Valve), Angie Smets (Guerrilla Games), Amir Rao (Supergiant Games) and Jade Raymond (Electronic Arts).

For Honor System Specs

UbiBlog now offers For Honor PC specs and system requirements, revealing how sharp your PC should be to play the melee combat game:

MINIMUM

OS:
Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i3-550 | AMD Phenom II X4 955 or equivalent
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX660/GTX750ti/GTX950/GTX1050 with 2 GB VRAM or more | AMD Radeon HD6970/HD7870/R9 270/R9 370/RX460 with 2 GB VRAM or more – See supported List */**
SYSTEM RAM: 4GB
Resolution: 720p@30FPS
Video Preset: Low
VSync: Off

RECOMMENDED

Resolution:
1080p@ ~60FPS
Video Preset: High
VSync: Off
OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5-2500K | AMD FX-6350 or equivalent
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX680/GTX760/GTX970/GTX1060 with 2 GB VRAM or more | AMD Radeon R9 280X/R9 380/RX470 with 2 GB VRAM or more – See supported List */**
SYSTEM RAM: 8GB

Evening Patches

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Werewolf: The Apocalypse Game Plans

Focus Home Interactive announces a "partnership" with White Wolf Publishing Werewolf: The Apocalypse, a new adaptation of the World of Darkness property coming to Windows and consoles. An Unreal engine game based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse was also announced back in the 20th century, but the project eventually faded into nothingness. An interesting thing about this news is that Paradox Interactive acquired White Wolf Publishing back in 2015, but the are not mentioned in this announcement as publisher, and the game is being developed by Cyanide Studio. More details are promised at the beginning of next month from the What's Next festival in Paris. In the meantime, here's word:

Paris-based video game publisher Focus Home Interactive is pleased to announce its partnership with White Wolf Publishing, license owner of the famous World of Darkness universe (Vampire The Masquerade, Werewolf, Mage Ascension).

The World of Darkness is a gritty vision of our own time. The world's most devious conspiracies are true. The divide between the rich and the poor is huge and corruption is rife. In the shadows of our declining societies, humans fall victim to supernatural horrors, all struggling for control.

The partnership between Focus Home Interactive and White Wolf Publishing concerns the adaptation in a video game of one of the most acclaimed licenses from the World of Darkness - Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The game will be developed by studio Cyanide (Styx: Master of Shadows, Blood Bowl, Call of Cthulhu). Become a werewolf, known as Garou (from French "Loup-garou" meaning werewolf), immersed in the atmosphere of their shamanistic and tribal world. Garou are Werewolf warriors opposed to urban civilization and supernatural corruption, all heading towards inevitable apocalypse.

"The World of Darkness has always attracted creatives with a strong passion for telling dark and immersive stories. So to work closely with the great talent at Focus Home and Cyanide exploring the savage Werewolves of this universe is an absolutely fantastic experience for us at White Wolf and we are more than excited to see this great and highly relevant IP realized in a video game¯," says Tobias Sjögren, CEO of White Wolf.

"We are pleased to partner with White Wolf to bring Werewolf: The Apocalypse to life in a video game for consoles and PC. We are excited to work on the World of Darkness universe, as this is formidable playground to tell the players a great story. We are also happy to partner with Cyanide Studio in this adventure. They are behind the original wish to adapt this universe, and we are faithful in their ability to create a game that will please both fans of World of Darkness and newcomers," says Cédric Lagarrigue, President of Focus Home Interactive

Out of the Park Baseball 18 Announced

Out of the Park Developments announces Out of the Park Baseball 18 will be released for Windows, OS X, and Linux on March 24th, offering a new installment in the sports series. The game once again features officially licensed names, logos, and players, and for the first time will feature a new challenge mode as well as players from the historical negro leagues. This page has details and is already accepting preorders. Here's more on the plan:

Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, the MLBPA, and MiLB.com, today announced that Out of the Park Baseball 18 will be released on March 24, 2017. The follow-up to the acclaimed Metacritic 2016 PC Game of the Year includes several exciting new features and a treasure trove of deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay.

For the first time, Out of the Park Baseball 18 introduces an all-new Challenge Mode. This will allow series newcomers to enjoy a powerful way to learn the intricacies of this deep strategy title, while driving community engagement for all users via the creation of online profiles to share accomplishments on new leaderboards. The Challenge Mode is just the beginning of an all-new, long-term expansion of OOTP’s online platform -- more will be unveiled during the course of the 2017 baseball season.

Out of the Park Baseball 18 will also include:

  • 2017 roster sets with all Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues as well as the Arizona Fall League. All major league (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters.
  • Historical Negro League clubs, thanks to a partnership with OOTP’s acclaimed historical database experts and Seamheads.com. This feature will allow baseball fans to explore the league’s rich history, create compelling what-if scenarios, pit major league clubs against their Negro League counterparts, and much more.
  • Improvements to 3D mode, including: Even more ballpark detail; better on-field player models and enhanced on-field decisions; and the ability to save all 3D highlights and watch a highlight reel, whether the game was played out or simulated.
  • Custom and real world tournaments for all the teams included in the game. National and international tournaments are a breeze to create, as is the ability to import historical teams.
  • Extensive AI improvements, including roster management, trades, and in-game decision-making.
  • A redesigned injury system that features detailed injury histories for all players, little nagging and long-term injuries, and more.
  • Many more improvements, including:
    • A beautiful new interface
    • Improved game recaps
    • An upgraded player morale/team chemistry system
    • Enhanced play-by-play text and league news
    • A sophisticated system for team relegation and promotion between leagues
    • The ability to retain player salaries in trades
    • The incorporation of many 2017 rule changes
    • Faster import speeds of historical minor league seasons
    • And more to be announced prior to release

Through January 27, customers may pre-order OOTP 18 for $31.99, a 20% discount off its full retail price. From January 28 to March 23, customers may pre-order OOTP 18 for $34.99, a 10% discount off its full retail price. All pre-order purchases include access to the Gold Master version on March 20, four days ahead of the official launch on March 24.

Urban Empire Begins

Kalypso Media announces the release of Urban Empire for Windows, a city planning game. In this you play a "City Ruler, not City Builder," much to the envy of mere mayors. This involves a 200-year term in office, and other variations on strict realism. This trailer offers a look at gameplay, and the announcement explains further:

Kalypso Media is proud to announce the release of Finnish developer Reborn Games’ highly anticipated new ‘City Ruler’ strategy title, Urban Empire on Windows PC. On a day where global politics is preparing itself for one of the most significant leadership shifts in recent memory, it is only fitting that Kalypso is set to introduce its own shift in strategy gaming with the innovative and ambitious Urban Empire. In our pioneering new ‘City Ruler’, we hand power over to you, leaving you to shape not only the physical landscape of your budding metropolis, but the political one as well.

In Urban Empire, players will assume the role of mayor, tasked with founding a new city in the fictional country of Swarelia. Select from one of four distinct families, each with their own values, talents and specializations, and guide them through 200 years of history, from the 1820s through to modern times, as you strive to remain in power whilst battling against the competing political parties who will serve to help or hinder your ambitions depending on your choices and playstyle. Manage your city’s infrastructure, economy, rights, laws, technological progression and cultural identity, forging a unique and personal Urban Empire of your very own!

To celebrate the launch of Urban Empire, Kalypso Media has prepared a launch trailer showing the core goals and mechanics of the game:

Continue here to read the full story.

Conan Exiles Video; Livestream Today

Funcom is planning a livestream today on PvP support in Conan Exiles. This tweet says thing will get underway at 1:00 on EST on Twitch. The developer also offers a new video from Conan Exiles, showing off more their upcoming barbaric survival game. The game's tagline is "survive, build, dominate," and they follow on their survive and build videos with dominate trailer. Grab your ball-gag, as they also offer this developer blog with more details on the whole domination theme. How can someone "see their own head rolling away from them?" We don't know either, but according to Funcom, the game will allow us to find out:

Combat is a key aspect of Conan Exiles and players will engage in brutal battles using anything from swords to warhammers and longbows. A violent fatality system ensures that they can slice each other in half or even see their own head rolling away from them in what is a savage and bloody combat system true to the spirit of the world’s most famous barbarian. To dominate the Exiled Lands, players will also have to build cities and fortresses to claim land, and they must go out and capture thralls to help them defend their settlements or create special weapons and armor. To truly dominate Conan’s world, they must also build altars to their god and bring them sacrifices to appease them. If they earn the blessings of their god, players will ultimately get to summon and take direct control of huge, towering avatars of the gods that can roam the world and crush both bodies and buildings under their weight. There will be several countermeasures against avatars and players can also choose to run and play on servers without avatars if they want to.

Continue here to read the full story.

Thimbleweed Park Trailer

A new Ransome trailer from Thimbleweed Park introduces Ransome the clown, a barely creepy inhabitant of the titular park in Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick's upcoming throwback adventure. Ransome is one of five playable characters in the game, and the clip is accompanied by a quick bio: "He's obviously a jerk, but Ransome's not full of *beep* when he says that in Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems. Between the haunted hotel, the giant pigeons clucking about "signals", and the town founder's obsession with vacuum tubes, this place is *beeped* up. Nobody in this town can be trusted -- not even the two *beepers* trying to crack the case!" Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

10 Reasons To Love Alan Tudyk (as if you needed them). Didn't need them, but needed a reason for good cheer, and the existence of Alan Tudyk is an excellent one.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: 3D Truck Simulator.
Story: Facebook's Zuckerberg sues hundreds of Hawaiians to force property sales to him. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Sitting Too Much Ages You By 8 Years. Two-year-old in a stroller is actually 10. Thanks Slashdot.
Customizable Soft Robot Fits Around Heart To Help It Beat.
Media: Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade - A Star Wars Fan Film. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Things aren't always as they seem.
Pulling a Steel Beam Apart.



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