Archived News:

Friday, Oct 30, 2015

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth Released

Binding of Isaac website announces the release of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth, the new DLC that over one hundred of hours of content to the action/RPG/shooter (thanks MisterBenn). This is available for Windows., OS X, and Linux on Steam, and requires The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth to play. This release trailer offers a look at what to expect, and here's word:
The Binding of Isaac is a randomly generated action RPG shooter with heavy Rogue-like elements. Following Isaac on his journey players will find bizarre treasures that change Isaac’s form giving him super human abilities and enabling him to fight off droves of mysterious creatures, discover secrets and fight his way to safety.

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth is the massively updated expansion to 2014's roguelike of the year, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. Following Isaac one more time on his journey players will find bizarre treasures that change Isaac’s form giving him super human abilities and enabling him to fight off droves of mysterious creatures, discover secrets and fight his way to safety.
Continue here to read the full story.

Sword Coast Legends Free DLC

The Sword Coast Legends website offers a new "state of the game" message from Dan Tudge, president of developer n-Space (thanks PC Gamer). Noting the game's reception has been "polarizing," the update outlines hopes to depolarize things with plans for several pieces of DLC coming to the RPG, including the addition of preliminary mod support in December. The first piece of DLC is out today as a free download to celebrate Halloween. Here's word:
However, early user impressions for Sword Coast Legends have been polarizing. While many players love it, it is clear that for many, Sword Coast Legends did not meet their expectations. For those who have expressed disappointment in the game, I have just one thing to say: "We hear you." We are a very small, independent development team, and we would not have made it this far without you. We thank you for your continued support. In D&D, the party is everything, and you are the best party to have, by far.

As much and as long as we've labored to launch SCL, this is really just step one, a foundation for an even greater experience we have always intended to improve and expand. Our goal has always been to put Sword Coast Legends into the hands of would-be adventurers and to work with them to improve that experience. We have an aggressive list of content and updates planned for the near-term... one that will be delivered to you at no additional charge, starting TODAY!

Halloween Update: "The Pumpkin Patch": October 30th

  • New "Liars' Night" themed area and placeables in the spirit of Halloween
  • Cemetery DM location with over 35 new placeable objects and new player gear
  • Screen nudge with mouse (toggled option)
  • Players will now be able to move the camera by nudging the edges of the screen. The WASD keys and the middle mouse button will still work the way
  • they currently do.
  • Auto-heal at Adventurer's Camp
  • When entering the adventurer's camp, the party will heal any damage previously taken.
  • DM collect quests will display "x of x found" on the HUD
  • Hotkey added to re-center camera on player
  • Doubled the max length for DM quest conversation text
  • Added the option to lock your cursor to the window
  • Bug fixes

Continue here to read the full story.

Valve's VSync Experiments

A post to the Dota 2 development forum from Valve's Jay Stelly describes their experiments with a new way to get the visual benefits of turning on vsync without the penalty of added latency this normally carries (thanks Gamasutra via NeoGAF). Here's word on how this works, and how it can be enabled in Dota 2:
DOTA 2 includes an experimental feature that allows you to enable vsync with minimal latency. Normally enabling vsync adds another frame of latency causing some inputs to feel delayed. With this new feature the engine will attempt to schedule simulation and rendering to coincide with the start of the new frame on your monitor. It is experimental currently and only available as a console variable. We will add it to the main UI if it is successful for enough users. It requires a PC that can maintain a framerate higher than your refresh rate (usually 60 frames per second or higher).

To try it, enable VSync in the video options panel. Then open the console and set this variable:

r_experimental_lag_limiter 1

You can toggle it on & off to see how it improves your latency.

To turn it back off use the setting:
r_experimental_lag_limiter 0

Please only post feedback about this feature in this thread.

Grimoire: Manastorm Free Weekend

Steam News announces a free weekend is now underway for Grimoire: Manastorm:
Try Grimoire: Manastorm for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1 PM Pacific Time. During this time Grimoire will also be available for 25% off!

Grimoire: Manastorm is a fast paced multiplayer shooter featuring magical tactical combat and six unique classes. In Grimoire ammo and cover systems have been replaced by genre-blending mechanics that reward clever play as much as reaction time. As a powerful wizard summon immovable objects and unstoppable forces- then watch them collide in spectacular arcane explosions. Travel instantaneously or turn your skin to impenetrable stone when enemies call down storms of meteors, summon deadly blizzards, and rip apart the fabric of space and time itself to destroy you. Use every trick at your disposal to lure opponents into deadly traps and your own devastating sorcery.

TrackMania Turbo VR Support

UbiBlog reveals plans for virtual reality support in TrackMania Turbo, saying the racing game will eventually be compatible with Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, interestingly specifying Windows 10 when talking about Rift support. They celebrate the news with a new trailer on the game's "creative inspiration." Here's the plan:
Players will be able to experience the entire game using their VR devices; every track and game mode will have full support on both the console and the PC. Give the campaign a go and test your skills on over 200 beautiful, massive tracks.

Trackmania Turbo is currently being showcased with the Oculus Rift as part of the Electronic Sports World Cup (running from October 28 through November 1) at Paris Games Week. This marks Trackmania’s ninth consecutive year as part of the tournament, but it is the first time the tournament will include virtual reality.
Continue here to read the full story.

Game Tycoon 2 Early Access

Game Tycoon 2 is now available as an early access release on Steam, offering a 15% discount on the in-development game of game development. Here's the pitch:
Game Tycoon is back and just as the games industry has evolved, so has Game Tycoon.

Choose one of the three developers and develop the video game hits of tomorrow for PC, console, handhelds, smartphones and other platforms.

As an indie game developer, you find yourself mixing it with the big boys. To survive, as an indie in this cutthroat business, you will need to be creative and nimble. Spot the niche, back your hunches and go for it!

Experience the thrill and fascination of game development through the eyes of a development studio. Uses technologies and follow industry trends from 1980 right up until 2030. All of which are in even more detailed than before.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Nuk3town Trailer

A new trailer from Call of Duty: Black Ops III shows off how the Nuk3town bonus map looks in the latest installment in the shooter series. Word is: "
Set in 2065, this fan favorite map from Black Ops has returned in a big way. Nuk3town has been re-designed from the ground up to highlight Treyarch's new momentum-based, chained-movement system, allowing players to battle in this adrenaline-charged multiplayer map. Players will experience a new take on this classic run-and-gun, close-quarters map. Escape a harsh reality and enjoy this virtual neighborhood of the future." Continue here to read the full story.

Spaceship Ahoy - GALAK-Z

GALAK-Z is now available for Windows, OS X, and Linux on GOG.com and Steam, and 17-BIT's throwback 2D space combat game carries a 20% launch discount (thanks xChaoSx). This update has details in a small launch day patch, and here's word on the game's mix of the old and the new:
Prepare for the bar to be raised on deep-space 2D dog-fighting! GALAK-Z is a modern, A.I. and physics-driven open-world action game, viewed through the lens of the classic 16-bit space shooter. Powered by the next-generation Cyntient AI platform, GALAK-Z puts players in control of anime-inspired spacecraft inhabiting procedurally generated worlds.

In GALAK-Z both stealth and skill are required to defeat truly intelligent enemies. You will be forced to outsmart enemies that think, react and cooperate like seasoned pilots! Master your ship’s sublimely-honed controls as you blast enemies, unleash missile salvos, and even toss your opponents, mech-style, to their explosive demise.

The Technomancer Trailer

There's no Zefram Cochrane in this "first contact" trailer, but it does offer look at The Technomancer, the upcoming RPG from Spiders where you must get your ass to mars. Here's word on the clip:
In the video, you'll see Zachariah fighting and exploring throughout the markets and shanties of Noctis, one of the major cities in The Technomancer, where over a hundred years of separation from Earth, new cultures, clans, and super-powers formed throughout Mars, causing clashes and in-fighting across the red planet.

It's not all about the combat, though, with a deep, modular crafting system changing the visible and active qualities of clothing and weapons from scrap you find on Mars. Cut off from Earth for 120 years, Mars is a world in conflict, with many different cultures and communities - and the games weapons and clothing reflect this quality, with jury rigged and make-shift weapons and armor, designed for survival, or militaristic rule!

From melee combat skills to active and passive abilities, everything can be unlocked and upgraded in the ability tree, where you'll be able to improve the games' three combat styles, and also your technomancer abilities as you level up and gain XP.

There are up to five different ways to finish quests in The Technomancer, and your choices will affect the story ending. Romance your companions, craft, quest, kill, and explore Mars, coming 2016 to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

On Sale

Op Ed

GamesIndustry.biz - Payday 2 shows how not to change a business model.
"Consider a counterfactual, if you will; a scenario where Overkill, instead of sneaking in a new business model under the cover of a misleadingly titled event, had engaged openly and honestly with their community (however small a sliver of the customer base that "community" may be) and worked through the reasoning and the plans for the introduction of new business aspects in the game. Consider a scenario where the company, in humble acknowledgement of its previous pledges (which would now be broken and should never have been made), figured out a way to make the new model work for existing players, so they felt benefits from it, not just an aggrieved sense of being gouged. It wouldn't have been smooth sailing - in-game purchase models raise some hackles regardless - but it would have been a much smoother transition than now, and the immense damage that's been done to the game's reputation and chances of future playerbase expansion could have been largely avoided."

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Man killed in rollover crash, ejected onto freeway sign. Just... wow. Any guesses whether he was wearing a seatbelt?

Starsiege and TRIBES Free Games

The Tribes Universe website now offers free downloads of many of the games in the Starsiege and TRIBES series, from 1994's Earthsiege through 2012's free-to-play Tribes Ascend and much of what came between, including the classic shooter Starsiege TRIBES. With most of the Tribes series being multiplayer focused, it may be hard to find games, but the free releases may influence that. There's a thread on reddit about this that includes instructions on how to get the older games running using DOSBox and other tools. Thanks PC Invasion.

Dawn of War II - Retribution DLC

Steam now offers the unexpected release of the Ridiculously Bloody Blood Pack, new DLC for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution (thanks Eurogamer). The title of this is apparently not an exaggeration, as a large portion of the description covers just how much gore this adds to the real-time strategy sequel:
Thought of the Day: Success is measure in blood; yours or your enemy’s.

Indulge your bloodlust as never before! With massively increased frequency and size of blood effects, the Bloodpack DLC brings combat in Warhammer® 40,000® Dawn of War® II: Retribution™ to a new level of brutality. Subtlety be damned!

WARNING! This content is EXTREMELYbloody which can affect battle visibility when in combat. This option can be turned off from the Steam library-> > Dawn of War II - Retribution > Properties > Ridiculous Bloody Blood Pack > tick box (checked = on, unchecked = off)

Total War ARENA in NA Next Month

Creative Assembly announces Total War ARENA will be released in North America in two weeks, offering a lucky Friday the 13th release date for the multiplayer strategy game, which they will celebrate with a livestream on Twitch at 6:00 pm EST. In the meantime, they still encourage those interested to sign up for the closed beta. Here's a new Inside the Battle trailer, and here's the plan:
US servers will go live next month, bringing ARENA’s unique epic-scale battles to US players. To be among the first US players to join the Closed Beta, sign up here: https://playarena.totalwar.com/

In celebration of this, a US launch event will take place at the ESL Studios in Burbank, California, on Friday 13th of November 2015.

This event will bring 20 players from US and Europe to the famous ESL studios, to go head to head in Total War: ARENA`s fast-paced 10v10 battles on custom-made battlefield maps, where decisive strategies, combat tactics and teamwork will decide who is victorious.

As a taste of what’s to come, see a player’s view of what it’s like on the battlefield in this trailer, filmed after the Alpha livestream event earlier this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxNdBGRkGUA

The US launch event will be streamed live on the official Total War Twitch channel starting at 3pm PDT on the 13th of November. http://www.twitch.tv/totalwarofficial

Total War: ARENA is free to play. To join the Closed Beta, sign up at https://playarena.totalwar.com/. The game is currently open in Europe and Russia, with US servers coming in November.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Last Crown: Midnight Horror

Iceberg Interactive announces the release of The Last Crown: Midnight Horror for Windows on Steam, offering a scary adventure in time for Halloween. This comes from indie developer Darkling Room, and is set in the period between 2008's The Lost Crown and its upcoming sequel The Last Crown: Blackenrock. "Midnight Horror is a standalone ghost story, a celebration of Halloween, but also acts as a re-introduction to the ‘Crown’ universe, and the people of Saxton," says Darkling Room’s Jonathan Boakes. "I hope you enjoy the game! It's been a blast to make and it acts as a super Prologue for Blackenrock, as well as a seasonal title in its own right." Here's a gameplay trailer, and here's more:
Halloween: when the veil between our world and the 'other side' is at its weakest. Witches celebrate Samhain, a Celtic festival from the old religion, conjuring the dead and communing with the spirits. Nigel Danvers, ghost-hunter, knows all about the ghosts that dwell in the darkness, he has seen plenty to convince him there are dark forces at work. So, why is Halloween so different? Something is haunting the guest rooms above the local harbour-side pub, The Bear. Who or what hides in the shadowy corners of the old Inn? What is the presence at the end of the Harbour Wall? Dusting down his old ghost-hunting gadgets, Nigel gets to work. He has one night to find out, before the veil returns to full strength, and the Halloween Horror is gone, for another year.
Continue here to read the full story.

Enter the Dota 2 Colosseum

The Dota 2 blog invites us to "Enter the Haunted Colosseum" as Valve is offering a Halloween-themed custom game in their MOBA sequel. This page has all the details, and here's word:
This year, we felt the best way to mark the passage of October was to create a spooky, pumpkin-filled Custom Game. Haunted Colosseum is a new 5-on-5 battle for territorial control, complete with Capture Points, devilish traps, and warrior behemoths. It’s available now, you can learn more about it here, and then launch Dota 2 to try it for yourself.

We’ve revamped the Custom Games overview page with the goal of promoting discovery of great Custom Games, and getting people into lobbies and playing as quickly as possible. To do that, we’ve replaced the “Suggested Games” list with an “Open Lobby” list, and we’ve added a new panel which highlights an automatically-chosen Game of the Day.

This update also includes the second Tribute treasure for Fall Compendium owners: the Tribute of the Sharpened Feather.

There are a lot of additional changes and improvements in this update, such as a new section in your profile for showing off your tournament tickets, a way to see and manage your downloaded replays, support for offline solo play, a new matchmaking region in Tokyo with connectivity to Taiwan and Korea, a couple of balance changes with 6.85b, and more. Check out the complete notes for the full rundown.

Steam Security Tips

Steam News offers tips on how to keep your Steam account properly secured. They describe how to add a security phone number and how to use the Steam mobile app to enable two-factor communication. They warn: "It's a complicated situation and even very sophisticated Steam users can fall victim. Any Steam user who has made a purchase or earned a trading card has value in their account and should use these new features to protect it and all the time invested."

Morning Patches

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy All Hallow's Eve Eve! I guess that makes this Halloweeneen? Either way, it's also Friday, so there should be something in there to celebrate.

R.I.P.: Famous skateboarding dog Tillman dies at age 10 in California. Thanks Ant.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: GhostBombers 2.
Gods of the Arena.
Science: Cancer-killing viruses have finally arrived.
Images: Gary Oldman, Star Citizen.
Media: Best Halloween Costume Fails and Scare Pranks By FailArmy. Thanks nin.
St. Cadaverstump's Home for Wayward Sbemails.
Seal Jumps On Guy's Boat And Makes A Friend. Actually a sea lion.
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