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Thursday, Dec 15, 2016

Ubisoft Giveaway Second Chance

Ubisoft Club announces that to cap off their 30th anniversary celebration, this weekend they are offering another chance to download all the free games they gave away this year on a monthly basis. The seven free games are Prince of Persia Sands of Time, Splinter Cell, Rayman Origins, The Crew, Beyond Good & Evil, Far Cry Blood Dragon, and Assassin's Creed III. They are also offering a badge on Uplay for everyone who takes advantage of this offer.

AI War II Early Access in May

Arcen Games announces a May 29, 2017 release date for early access to AI War II, their upcoming asymmetric strategy sequel. They also say they expect the game's full release to follow in October, and the precision of their plans is a little surprising considering the game's Kickstarter still has three days to run. Word is: "In related news, Arcen's Kickstarter for AI War 2 has surpassed its funding goal and is heading toward its third stretch goal ahead of its conclusion on Monday, December 19th. We're thrilled, and encouraging fans to join our mailing list for major announcements during development. The current goal, if met, will add The Nemesis -- a diabolical new enemy within the AI."

Hearts of Iron IV Expands

Paradox Interactive announces the release of Together for Victory, the first expansion for Hearts of Iron IV, their World War II strategy sequel. This release trailer shows things off, and the announcement has details on what this brings:
The time has come for all the subjects of his Majesty to stand shoulder to shoulder against Fascism. Will you answer the call?

Together for Victory, the first expansion for Hearts of Iron IV (PEGI 7), is now available on major digital retailers. This add-on for Paradox’s grand strategy epic about the tumultuous years leading to and including WWII puts the British Dominions and Commonwealth nations in the spotlight.

The major new mechanic is the Autonomy system. Nations still subject to a greater power have a range of actions available to them depending on how subservient they are. A Dominion will have some constraints on its foreign policy, but will be more independent than a puppet regime. Through decisions and actions, these subjects can assert themselves and gain full independence.
Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory - Release Trailer
Together for Victory also includes:

  • New National Focuses: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India each receive their own National Focus Trees, bringing their history to life
  • Spearheads: A new order simplifies breakthroughs in land invasions
  • Continuous Focuses: Choose a National Focus to boost your nation’s capabilities over time, prioritizing one aspect of your military machine over another
  • Alternate Histories: Each of the Dominion nations has alternate history branches. Lead South Africa to a Communist revolution that will end segregation but alienate Great Britain. Make Canada a Fascist state warily eyeing the giant to the south.
  • Tech Sharing: Cozy up to an advanced great power and take advantage of their research progress to accelerate your own development.
  • Combat Log: Extensive details on the performance of your divisions in battle are now available for you, Commander.
  • Request Lend Lease: Ask for assistance from across the seas in the form of lend lease, adding new vehicles and equipment to beleaguered armies.
  • New Art: New portraits for new leaders, old leaders have some portraits redone, and new unit designs and event pictures make their debut.

Continue here to read the full story.

Space Engineers Beta Begins

A Steam Community announcement has details on the latest changes in Space Engineers, Keen Software House's early access strategy game. They also say this marks the game entering the beta stage, which is a startling sign of the times, as it first went on sale over three years ago. Here's word:
Hello Engineers! Today, we are pushing all the features from last week’s enormous update to the stable branch. Just in case you missed the news, this includes the total block redesign, new multiplayer netcode, a tutorial campaign and much more! We wanted to make this great update available to all players as you’ve been asking for it all week! In combination with this today’s bug and crash fixes, you should be able to enjoy a stable gameplay experience. This update also marks the transition of Space Engineers moving to Beta phase.

The most important thing to remember with this announcement is that there is still more content, improvements and many optimizations to come. As an example, we can confirm that one of the things being worked on currently is a new HUD which should significantly increase your immersion in the game. Beta simply means that we feel the game now has a solid foundation.

Offworld Trading Company Steam Workshop Opens

Publisher Stardock and developer Mohawk Games announce the launch of Steam Workshop support in Offworld Trading Company. If you are interested in altering the RTS game should check out their post with Modding Tutorials. This post on Steam and this one on the Offworld Trading Company website offer the following summary of the news:
Make your Offworld Mods and Share Them With Other Players
Change game values in xml or dive deep into the code with your own C# mods

At Stardock and Mohawk Games, we appreciate the modding community. Many of us got our start in games through modding in our spare time and we love to see the incredible ideas and designs that you dream up for our titles. To that end, we’re thrilled to introduce Steam Workshop support for Offworld Trading Company!

Modders can look forward to:

  • Modding xml data for buildings, units, resources, and more
  • Writing your own C# code that can execute alongside the game's code
  • Accessing Steam Workshop easily through the game
  • Easy access to your work with a new "Mods" screen on the Start menu
  • Downloading other game mods from around the world

If you're new to modding (or haven't done it in awhile and would like a refresher), check out these tutorials on Mohawk's blog about how to get started. Steam Workshop support is now fully integrated and is waiting for you in your Steam client.

World of Tanks Holiday Ops

The World of Tanks website announces holiday celebrations get underway tomorrow in World of Tanks, bringing cheer and rewards to the MMO tank game. Here's the plan:
It’s time to push towards the festive frontlines and meet the holiday season with all guns blazing. With the New Year knocking on the hatch, it’s about time that World of Tanks answered. This year, you can expect an even extravaganza with the unique Holiday Ops.

Holiday Ops runs from December 16 03:20 PT (06:20 ET) to January 16 03:20 PT (06:20 ET). Your mission, if you choose to accept it: decorate your New Year Tree and "Snowitzer" tank, spread some holiday joy, and while you’re at it, improve your alchemy skills!

Explore the full list of Holiday Ops quests and missions. Try not to get buried under the presents, though.

Spread the Cheer and Earn Rewards
So, just how ready are you for World of Tanks’s festive season? It’s easy to find out now with Holiday Ops’ very special “Festive Atmosphere.” It has 10 levels through which to progress, each with a crate of goodies. In the Garage, you’ll find your very own New Year Tree and a KV-2 Snowitzer. Your mission this holiday season is to decorate them right in-game. The more items adorn your tree and tank, and the higher your Festive Atmosphere level, and the better the rewards you receive.

Every new level will earn you a full crate of rewards, including discounts on fresh-off-the-line Swedish tank destroyers!

Planet Coaster Winter Update

A new winter update is now live in Planet Coaster, bringing a load of changes to the theme park game, along with winter content, since everyone loves a roller coaster ride through the snow. This post has patch notes that go on forever, and this trailer has a look at the update. Continue here to read the full story.

New NVIDIA GeForce Drivers

NVIDIA now offers new version 376.33 WHQL-certified GeForce reference drivers for their video cards (thanks HARDOCP). Lately these driver releases have had an accompanying article on the GeForce website, but you need to seek these out on their drivers page. They do offer complete patch notes, but the 48 page document only has scant details on newness, only specifying that the update disables SLI for Titanfall 2. Other than that, they say: "This version adds several security improvements."

Styx: Shards of Darkness Trailer

Styx: Shards of Darkness is on display in a new gameplay trailer from Cyanide Studio's stealthy adventure sequel. Publisher Focus Home Interactive also narrows the game's release window from Q1 of 2017 to March 2017, as they offer some details to accompany the trailer:
Styx: Shards of Darkness is Cyanide Studio's upcoming Stealth Adventure game arriving March 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Today, discover 4 minutes of brand new gameplay footage featuring a slew of Styx's new tools and abilities in three different locations - Wildoran the hunters' village, the secret Sanctuary of the Dark Elven city Korrangar, and Thoben, the city of thieves.

Styx's second adventure builds upon the foundations laid in the tower of Akenash, with more fluid movement and climbing abilities, a richer story told with cinematics including an enhanced bestiary, side-missions to complete, as well as new and improved sneaking and assassination skills.

The titular goblin's aerial abilities have been improved and expanded. Swing from ropes and attack from above with a slew of new tools such as the crossbow, with a range of different bolts such as the non-lethal poison bolt. The crossbow can be used not only to kill or disable enemies, but also to detach environmental objects crushing those below.
Continue here to read the full story.

Shenmue III Preorders

Ys Net announces that preorders are underway for the PC edition of Shenmue III. Preorders are underway on this website, and the news is accompanied by a press kit with some new screenshots. Though gamers grow more resistant to preorders as they occasionally disappoint, but they say this is by popular demand:
On December 15, Ys Net Inc., headed by Yu Suzuki, began taking pre-orders for the PC version of Shenmue III through its official game site, Shenmue.link.

Responding to the many requests for a PC version pre-order option, the Slacker Backer Campaign at Shenmue.link is accepting Shenmue III PC version pre-orders today, coming after the finalization of agreements by affiliated parties. Sales from the PC Slacker Backer campaign will go towards Stretch Goals, adding more content to the game.

Development Progress
R&D for various game elements is on course as the development team shifts its focus towards production. Main game scenarios are nearing completion, motion capture tests are well under way, and voicing tests with the cast have begun. Yu Suzuki and the production staff are happy to say they are enjoying the work as they continue to diligently make progress on the mini-games, events, and battles.

Comment from Yu Suzuki
“I have been absorbed in developing the game and I stay in the studio all night time to time. My life is all about Shenmue day and night.”

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Out of the Blue

Last week I gave up my blood to the doctor for testing, and today is my annual checkup. I don't have any particular complaints to deal with, and expect this to be routine, so there will probably be drama. And then there's the you-know-what test... oh well, better safe than sorry.

Medical Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Monkey Go Happy Lights.
Viewpoint.
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Science: 1 in 8 airline pilots may be clinically depressed.
Images: Dining in outer space with the astronauts of the world. Thanks Digg via nin.
Media: People Are Awesome 2016.
Adam Ruins Everything - The McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit.
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