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Thursday, Mar 09, 2017

John Carmack Sues ZeniMax

Oculus CTO John Carmack is suing his former employer ZeniMax for $22.5 million he says he is still owed by the company from its purchase of id Software. Carmack was at the center of a contentious case over VR technology that resulted in Zenimax winning a $500M judgment from Oculus, and he says the refusal to pay him his due is "sour grapes. Dallas News (thanks Kotaku) has the text of the suit and offer this outlook:
The lawsuit filed by Carmack says that ZeniMax won't pay the remaining sum for id Software because of the intellectual property lawsuit -- but it notes that the jury did not find Carmack liable for misappropriation of trade secrets or copyright infringement.

"ZeniMax's invocation of the same alleged acts that it just went to trial on is an exercise in bad faith and distraction, not a legitimate basis to avoid paying the money it owes from its purchase of id Software," the lawsuit says.

P.A.M.E.L.A. Early Access

Steam now offers early access to P.A.M.E.L.A., a first-person survival/horror game using a sci-fi setting (insert joke here about all the periods Pamela has, and insert apology for said joke here). Here's a launch trailer and here are the details:
Indie development team NVYVE® Studios today announced that P.A.M.E.L.A., the first-person, open world, utopian, sci-fi, survival horror game, is available now on Steam Early Access. Awakening from the depths of cryosleep in the glimmering fallen utopia of Eden, P.A.M.E.L.A. challenges you to survive by exploring the remnants of the once great paradise. The Afflicted, the maligned citizens of Eden driven mad by a horrific biological outbreak, stalk the vibrant streets and architecture of the game’s future idyll, a harrowing threat and a constant reminder that paradise must fall. It’s only through your survival and exploration of the city that you will uncover the tragedy of humanity's craving for technological and biological advancement - a perpetual thirst for a brighter future.

“We’re hugely excited to share P.A.M.E.L.A. with players across the world. Situating the core aspects of the survival genre within our handcrafted sci-fi setting has not been without challenge but we believe P.A.M.E.L.A. now presents a unique proposition. Eden is alive with the richness and detail of a once functional city, a perfect backdrop for the player’s own story of survival, and truth they will uncover. We hope players take delight in the world, in the quiet moments amidst the conflict ,” said Adam Simonar, Studio Director of NVYVE® Studios. “Early Access represents the next step for the development of the game as we begin to work closely with the community to evolve P.A.M.E.L.A, their input crucial to the features and content we will introduce between now and the game’s full commercial launch.”

Survival is paramount in P.A.M.E.L.A. Eden’s lone AI overseer, Pamela itself, will provide information on how to survive within the city while bestowing amplified abilities upon you. Wield future, modular technology, hack into the city’s still functioning power grid, and enhance your body with bio-augmentations. This is all achieved through your holographic “AARM UI” system, the game’s seamless interface, which projects directly into the game world to heighten immersion and build tension during your battles against the harrowing, disfigured antagonists, The Afflicted. Defence is just as important as attack, made possible by the game’s freeform base-building system that enables you to build a personal safe haven amidst Eden’s hostile world.

Shifting deftly between glistening, utopian beauty and the horror of its disease ravaged citizens, Eden itself is a handcrafted marvel. Meticulously constructed by NVYVE® Studios, the spatial and environmental flow of the city’s spaces evoke the metropolises of the real world. As you explore the city, scavenging for resources and defending yourself against The Afflicted, you will uncover poignant insights into the lives of individual citizens of Eden, both through the environment itself and discoverable data logs. Search Eden for over 200 unique pieces of loot and resources, ranging from food to building materials and hi-tech weapons and upgrades, in order to give yourself the best possible chance of survival. The city, though, isn’t just an environment to survive from - its blood covered environments reveal the depths to which the city has been lost.

Holodrive Now Free-to-Play

A Steam Community Group Announcement has the news that Holodrive is now free to play, expanding the potential reach of this side-scrolling multiplayer shooter. Here's the news:
We're super excited to be finally announcing that Holodrive is going Free to Play TODAY!

You've been asking in the forums for quite a while for us to open the game so you'd have more Dummys to kill in the arena, and we are finally able to do just that!

Oh, did I mention we're also releasing our biggest update of all time? No? Well then, the list of changes is HUGE so let's begin!


  • New Main Menu UI
  • New Game Mode: Cocoball
  • New Practice Mode
  • New Servers (USA, South America and Europe)!
  • New Gameplay Props, models and texture
  • New Basic Weapons models and texture
  • If you play Secret mode 3 times you'll receive a Holopack!
  • Tons of bugfixes
  • Loads of other improvements!

Coming soon:

  • New Matchmaking
  • New Party system

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for helping us shape the game! Holodrive wouldn't be the same without our amazing community :)

New Paragon Hero Tuesday

The Paragon website reveals Yin, the next hero coming to Epic's MOBA. They say she will launch on Tuesday, and offer this trailer with a look at her in action. They also offer details on her kit:
Yin (Growth, Fury) is a carry who wields a combination of her whip and wind magic to quickly dispatch her enemies. Although she came from a life of crime on the streets with Aurora, Yin rose to the rank of First Guardian of her city.

  • Backlash (RMB/R1) - Yin cracks her whip, dealing damage in an area in front of her. If enemy projectiles are hit by the whip, they will be reflected back towards the enemy.
  • Lash Kick (Q/Square) - Yin swings her whip, pulling herself to a target, and then jumps off of their head dealing damage.
  • Windburn (E/Circle) - Yin reaches with her whip, increasing the range of her basic attack as well as gaining cleave.
  • Quelling Gale (R/Triangle) - Yin surrounds herself in a whirlwind, displacing all enemies within range. For 5 seconds, the whirlwind will slow enemies and enemy projectiles that travel through it.

As always, all Heroes in Paragon are free, so jump in as Yin on Tuesday. If you can't wait to get your Paragon fix, you don't have to - Paragon is in Free Open Beta, so you can download and play today.

Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Evening Screenshots

Into the Black

Link of the Day: "Game of Thrones" S7 Set For July 16th. Thanks Ant.

New GeForce Drivers and GTX 1080 Ti Reviews

Tomorrow is the official launch date for the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, and the GeForce website now offers new GeForce Game Ready 378.78 WHQL drivers to support them and add new features and fixes for their entire line. Also, the reviews for new graphics cards started popping up at exactly 9:00 am EST, so we celebrate this remarkable coincidence with a review roundup:

WoW Bans

A post on explains that a bunch of World of Warcraft accounts have been banned for participating in schemes to charge real money for raids and dungeon clears (thanks PCGamesN). Sadly, some of those being punished were members of top raiding guilds, but Blizzard says these transgressions were intentional violations of their rules. Here's what happened:
We’ve recently taken action against a number of accounts that were actively participating in and/or advertising the sale of in-game raid or dungeon clears in exchange for real-world currency. Such behavior is a clear violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Use.

Of the players affected, many were members of top raiding guilds. We want to be clear that everyone we’ve taken action against had illustrated full knowledge and intent to violate the Terms of Use. Going forward, in order to ensure fair play and competitive integrity, we’ll be monitoring these activities much more closely in order to make sure that the rules are being followed. This includes selling services for real money, account-sharing, and other violations.

Note that while selling assistance with obtaining items, achievements, PvP rating, or other in-game benefits for real-world currency is against the Terms of Use, selling those things in exchange for in-game gold is perfectly legitimate. Players should not feel as though participating in a “gold run” is going to result in negative action taken against their account.

If you see people advertising these services, please help us keep the game clean by reporting them. If you’re unsure, here are some common warning signs:

  • A “broker” is offering to match buyers with service-providers. Commonly, a broker will collect real-world currency from a buyer while offering gold to a guild or group that will actually provide the service.
  • Someone offering a service is unwilling to discuss terms of payment via in-game tells, and insists on using a non-Blizzard application to communicate.

Also note that Patch 7.2 includes some improvements to our reporting features to add clearer categories for reporting listings in the Premade Group Finder. We’re disappointed to see members of the raiding community participating in behaviors that clearly violate the Terms of Use, and want to be clear that such activities will not be tolerated.

Overwatch Custom Game Exploit Warning has word from Jeff Kaplan that Blizzard is aware that some players are exploiting custom games to farm experience in Overwatch (thanks VG247). He makes it clear they will not tolerate this, and may end up changing how XP is handled to address this:
I’ve seen some discussion in the community and in the press on this topic and sometimes it gets talked about as if it is a grey area. Is this wrong or is this ok? Well, let me take a grey area and make it starkly black and white for you. Abusing and exploiting Custom Game or any other game mode to earn experience in Overwatch while inactive is NOT ok. The reason I want to be absolutely clear about this is because we are going to start to take disciplinary action against people who partake in these activities. If you create a Custom Game that in any way encourages players to gain experience while inactive, you risk having your account banned. If you join any game mode – including Custom Games – with the intent of gaining experience while being inactive, you risk having your account banned. Also, do not name your Custom Game that in anyway even implies that gaining experience while inactive is OK – please do not even do this as a joke – because you are putting yourself at risk of having your account banned.

We are not naïve to player behavior and motivation. When we put this feature live, we had an internal escalation plan for how to combat this behavior. Today marks the first steps on that path. And in a lot of ways it really makes me sad. The feature is so much cooler and better for everyone if we do not have to put draconic restrictions on it. To fast forward a bit, the end of the escalation plan will result in experience gain being turned off in Custom Game. I really don’t want to see us getting to that point. So I am going to ask for some help from the vast majority of you who are simply playing the game and having fun and not abusing it: please report those who are creating Custom Games with the intention of gaining experience while remaining inactive. If you select someone’s Custom Game you get three options: Spectate, Join and Report. These options exist on all 3 platforms. Use the Report feature. It works.|

Obviously, I know what our plan is and how we will ramp things up to combat this behavior here on the Overwatch Team. But at this point, I am making a plea to you – the Overwatch Community at large: please decide what you want to happen here and be a part of the solution. If you enjoy Custom Games awarding experience then please help us combat the behavior we’re seeing now. Do not create Custom Games with the intent of gaining experience while inactive. Don’t join those games. Don’t jokingly put those names in your own Custom Games. And report players who are abusing the system.

BAFTA Nominees

The BAFTA website announces the nominations for the 2017 British Academy Games Awards. The awards will be handed out about a month from now, and you can go here for details on how to attend the ceremony. Here's the list of nominees:
ABZÛ Development Team - Giant Squid/505 Games
DISHONORED 2 Development Team - Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks
INSIDE Development Team - Playdead/Playdead
THE LAST GUARDIAN Development Team - SIE Japan Studio, genDesign/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
UNCHARTED 4 Development Team - Naughty Dog LLC/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
UNRAVEL Development Team - Coldwood Interactive/Electronic Arts

BATTLEFIELD 1 Development Team – DICE/Electronic Arts
DOOM Development Team – id Software/Bethesda Softworks
INSIDE Martin Stig Andersen – Playdead/Playdead
THE LAST GUARDIAN Development Team - SIE Japan Studio, genDesign/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
REZ INFINITE Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Takako Ishida, Noboru Mutoh - Enhance Games, Monstars Inc., Resonair/Enhance Games
UNCHARTED 4 Development Team – Naughty Dog LLC/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europs

FIREWATCH Development Team – Campo Santo Productions/Camp Santo Productions, Panic Inc.
INSIDE Development Team – Playdead/Playdead
OVERWATCH Development Team – Blizzard Entertainment/Blizzard Entertainment
STARDEW VALLEY Eric Barone – ConcernedApe/Chucklefish
TITANFALL 2 Development Team – Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts
UNCHARTED 4 Development Team – Naughty Dog LLC/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
Continue here to read the full story.

Faeria Released

Faeria is now available on Steam, offering a free-to-play virtual card game for Windows, OS X, and Linux. The game has completed an early access run, during which they added an extensive single-player campaign, updated the user interface, added new cards, and implemented cross-platform support between PC and iPad. Here's a bit on the game and a new bonus event that's getting underway:
Development of the game has only just begun as the game officially launches, with even more content, cards as well as both social and competitive features in the works to expand the world of Faeria even further. Since entering Early Access, the development team added a full blown single player experience with over 20 hours of content, an updated user interface, 40 new cards, a spectator mode and now true cross platform play between Steam and iPad. Support for Android devices and smartphones will also be available soon. You can find out more about how Faeria has grown and developed over the past year by going to and experiencing ‘Faeria Tales: Road to 1.0’.

With today’s update comes a ‘War Effort’, in which every piece of Gold collected by the community is added to a grand total - once this total hits 50,000,000 Abrakam will reveal their exciting plans for Faeria’s next few months. Read the 1.0 update notes.

World to the West in May

Rain Games announces World to the West will be released on May 5th, offering their follow up to Teslagrad. You can get a look at the game in this new trailer, and they say they will be showing off the latest build at EGX London at the end of this month. Here's an outline of the game:
World to the West is a standalone followup of Teslagrad, the indie hit that conquered the hearts of many puzzle-lovers three years ago. A 3D action adventure with a cartoony art style, inspired by those light-hearted RPGs from our past that made us face the challenges with a smile. A vast world of blue skies and dark caves awaits you, as you try to unveil the mysteries of an ancient prophecy. You’ll join four characters in this journey: Lumina the Teslamancer, Knaus the underdog, Miss Teri the treasure hunter and the gloriously mustachioed strongman, Lord Clonington, each one with their own storyline and abilities. Watch our new gameplay trailer to see them in motion!

About the links with Teslagrad and its distinctive narrative, Peter Meldahl, Rain Games' CEO, says: “It has been great to be able to finally use words in our storytelling- In our previous game, fan favorite Teslagrad, we told the entire narrative through the visuals of the game world and the direct actions of characters. Voiceless storytelling suited that title really well, but it did leave a lot unsaid. We are still not fans of big exposition dumps, but now the names and history of characters, monsters and other things can be picked up intuitively through the dialog in the game."
Continue here to read the full story.

Ice-Pick Lodge Countdown

Thanatica Labs is a new teaser site from Ice-Pick Lodge, offering a blurb saying they are working on "an ambitious project." Things are vague for now, but there's a countdown running that will conclude at 9:00 am GMT on Tuesday, which is 4:00 am EST, so some of us would need to set a wakeup alarm for this. This also offers a "study" that's a little confusing, but obviously intended to further tease what to expect. The Moscow-based developer of Pathologic, The Void, and Knock Knock call this as "a strange new teaser site" themselves, so it's not just us. More details Tuesday.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Jester's Quest -- Steam Greenlight. "Jester’s Quest is an fairy tale metroidvania platformer with some RPG elements. Jester’s Quest is using Unreal Engine 4 and some of its effects in symbiosis with classic pixelart. Navigate little jester in open world map to more than 50 different levels and solve puzzles, fight enemies and help villagers with their problems." Here's a trailer.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Yesterday we got to reconnect with a couple of the Gunnar-man's favorite people, a pair of delightful fraternal twins named Scarlet and Simon who live a couple of blocks away. We always stop to say hi when they are out, but it's been a long winter with no sign of them. The kids, their new pet doggie, and Gunnar all had a great time frolicking, and a good time was had by all. As we were going, Scarlet made her usual point of saying goodbye to us, and then paused, seemingly fascinated by the gray in my beard, as she said, quite seriously, "I think you're old." I laughed myself silly at this, but her mom was horrified, scolding her not to say things like that to people. I agreed that she shouldn't say that to people, but it was more than fine to say it to me. Kids are a riot.

Unfiltered Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Special Strike: Zombies.
Science: Americans’ sex lives have gone limp—lovemaking fell -15% since the ’90s. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Awesome Lego Garden Railway.
If Children's Cereal Commercials Were Honest.
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