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Thursday, Mar 16, 2017

  

Sid Meier's Civilization VI Demo

The Steam page for Sid Meier's Civilization VI now offers a playable demo for the turn-based strategy sequel. This comes as a bit of a surprise, since the game was released well over a year five months ago, but better late than never. The game is currently on sale for those who enjoy their sample. Here's a rundown on the demo:

Players who download the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI demo will be able to play as China, led by Qin Shi Huang and take their first steps building a new civilization for up to 60 turns in to the game. For those completely new to the Civilization series the demo also includes the tutorial from the full game to introduce and guide beginners to the world of Civilization.

Quake Champions Trailer

Bethesda.net now offers a new trailer from Quake Champions, introducing the game's Scalebearer champion. They go into detail on the character's abilities, and provide the following overview:

This warlord of the marauding Greiss plundered the technology of countless worlds to strengthen his armies. But defeat by a reclusive, phase-shifting race led to his exile. Obsessed with vengeance, he discovered their power source: an ancient shrine holding a seething sphere of liquid within. When at last he slaughtered its guardians and entered, the sphere consumed him – and he vanished. He awoke in the Dreamlands, a bizarre, brutal realm, transformed by arcane energy. Now he seeks a way back to the waking world to regain his command and wield his newfound might.

Continue here to read the full story.

Turok 2 Remaster Released

GOG.com and Steam announce the release of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, the remastered version of the first-person shooter sequel, with each site offering a 25% launch discount. The update is the work of Night Dive Studios, who also remade the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and GOG.com is offering an additional 25% discount for those who already own that version of Turok. Here's a trailer, and here's word:

Prehistoric reptiles and assorted monstrosities are running rampant until a new Turok rises to fight them. To compliment his heroic bloodlust, he's bringing 20+ badass weapons, remastered graphics, and carefully enhanced gameplay.

Continue here to read the full story.

Endless Space 2 New Faction Reveal

A community post reveals the Riftborn, a new faction coming to Endless Space 2, the 4X space strategy sequel. The update is accompanied by this prologue trailer and here are some of the details they provide:

The Riftborn are the seventh playable faction in Endless Space 2 and also completely new to the Endless universe. Their gameplay revolves around a unique mechanic: the control of time, which they use to their advantage and to completely change the course of the game.

"Hailing from an alternate dimension orthogonal to the Endless universe, the Riftborn would've happily led out their abstract, timeless existences entirely ignorant of galactic strife, were it not for a breach that precipitated a disaster of unimaginable proportions. Like a poisoned blade slashed deep into clean flesh, the rift acted as a source of terrible disorder in the Riftborn's pristine, geometrical universe. Desperate, unable to halt the disease's advance no matter what they tried, the Riftborn took the last available course of action that might lead to their survival: Together with their strange time-shifting abilities, they stepped into the Endless universe."

Continue here to read the full story.

LawBreakers Closed Beta Begins

Closed beta testing is now underway for LawBreakers, the upcoming multiplayer shooter from Cliff Bleszinski and Boss Key Productions. These patch notes outline all the changes made since the game's alpha test and also list known issues and bugs that may be encountered along the way. This beta will run for three days, but they promise more testing to come, and urge all who are interested in participating to sign up on the LawBreakers website. Here's word:

Closed Beta #1 starts tomorrow morning (Thursday March 16th - 9am PT/ Noon ET / 4pm UTC). If you played in Alpha, you are going to experience a lot of changes. If you're new to LawBreakers, welcome to a whole new world of gravity-defying combat! Below are the Patch Notes listing all the big-ticket additions and changes that have been implemented since the last Alpha test.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on Discord or the Official Forums.

NEW CONTENT, CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS

  • New: party and team voice chat powered by Discord
  • New Roles: Battle Medic, Juggernaut & Gunslinger
  • New Maps: Mammoth & Station
  • Balance updates on original Roles and Modes
  • Updated HUD and UI/Menus
  • Tutorial videos added to menus
  • New: Stash Boxes and light cosmetic customization for testing purposes only - will not transfer to future BETAs or full release (just a small sample)
  • In-Game Achievements
  • More robust Settings menu
  • Enhanced scoring events system
  • Improved in-game text chat
  • Healthbars and optional damage numbers
  • Optional alternative hit impact sounds
  • Skill based matchmaking first pass - Work in Progress
  • Auto-balance between matches
  • Reduced warm up time to 15s
  • Health pickups
  • Auto import Steam friends
  • Improved profile, player stats, match history
  • Improved netcode
  • Performance and loading times optimizations
  • First pass gamepad support

Telltale CEO Departs

Kevin Bruner today stepped down as CEO of Telltale Games, a position he assumed in place of company co-founder Dan "Roseanne" Connors in 2015. Connors will resume the role, and Bruner will remain on the company's board during the transition. Feel free to place bets on whether he will end up CEO again. Bruner announced the news in an internal mail which is reproduced on Kotaku. They also have a follow-up statement from the company on the news:

Telltale head of creative communications Job Stauffer tells Kotaku: “Kevin has led Telltale over the past couple of years after he stepped into the CEO role for co-founder Dan Connors in 2015. With Kevin departing, Telltale is fortunate to have Dan here to step back seamlessly into the CEO role.”

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Criminal Past DLC for Linux

Feral Interactive announces that the Criminal Past DLC for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is now available for the Linux edition of the action/RPG, with the OS X edition "coming soon." They offer details on this site, though the story of the DLC is obviously unchanged from Windows. Here's a refresher on that: "Set before the events of Mankind Divided, play as covert operative Adam Jensen in his first mission for Task Force 29. Posing as a convicted criminal, Jensen is transferred deep into a hostile, high-security prison for augmented felons. His mission is to track down and retrieve sensitive information from a fellow undercover agent." Here are some specifics on the kind of penguin-powered PC this requires:

The minimum system requirements for A Criminal Past are an Intel Core i3-4130/AMD FX8350 processor running Ubuntu 16.10 64-bit or SteamOS 2.0, 8GB of RAM and a 2GB NVIDIA 680 GPU or better. The recommended system requirements are an Intel Core i7-3770K processor running Ubuntu 16.10 64-bit or SteamOS 2.0, 16GB of RAM and a 6GB NVIDIA 1060 GPU or better. NVIDIA GPUs require driver version 367.57 or better. AMD and Intel GPUs are not supported at this time.

Clone Drone in the Danger Zone on Steam

Clone Drone in the Danger Zone is now in early access on Steam, offering a Windows and OS X sword fighting game where players attempt to destroy each other's surrogate robot bodies with voxel swords. This post has details on what's new in the game for its Steam release, and outlines how Itch.io customers can get a free Steam key of their own. Here's the quick pitch for the game:

In Clone Drone in the Danger Zone, your human consciousness is trapped inside a new robot body! Fight your way to freedom in a variety of game modes. Watch opponents get sliced into little bits, or crush them with a giant hammer. Set enemies ablaze and watch as they burn into smoldering little voxel bits. Fight to save your consciousness. THERE IS NO ESCAPE, HUMAN!

Tower Kingdom Beta

Tower Kingdom is now live, offering beta access to this free-to-play massively multiplayer tower defense game. The beta is closed, as they specify it is limited to 10,000 users. Here's an outline:

Tower kingdom is a TD game built on the principle of the traditional tower defence genre with some role-playing elements. Players will gain experience and skill points while playing which they can then invest to better suit their desired playing style.

The aim of tower kingdom is to construct powerful and upgradable towers to fend off creatures travelling along a specific route. Towers can be constructed anywhere on the green highlighted areas on the grid. Each tower has unique features to enhance your gaming experience and make it exciting and fun to play. The challenge of the game lies in developing a strategic network of defensive platforms to hold out against constant waves of creatures that will try to reach your base/objective.

Tower Kingdom offers a wide range of decisions on how to go about constructing your defensive network as the towers in Tower Kingdom require power to function properly thus the player will have to manage his/her power generation and supply, while also deciding when to upgrade his/her offensive/support towers.

When you allow too many creatures to reach your base/objective, you’ll suffer a defeat.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Codex of Victory Released

1C company announces the release of Codex of Victory, the promised sci-fi turn based strategy game for Windows, OS X, and Linux. The game is available on Steam, where there is also a playable demo. Here's a recent trailer, and here's word on the game:

1C announces that Codex of Victory has been released today. This sci-fi turn-based strategy with real-time base building elements, is now available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS via Steam and other digital stores.

Ino-Co Plus, the developer of Codex of Victory, has mustered all of its experience with successful past titles such as Majesty 2, Elven Legacy, Warlock, Gunspell, to fuse two closely-related strategic gameplay types. And not only will Codex of Victory keep players going throughout its extensive singleplayer campaign, as head-to-head online combat with detailed unit customization options offers a great chance to test one’s strategic and tactical skills against friends.

Codex of Victory also offers a demo version on Steam (Windows, Linux, Mac OS) to introduce gamers to the forthcoming breakout of war between humans and the Augments.

Continue here to read the full story.

Shadow Warrior 2 Free DLC

New Bounty Hunt DLC Part 1 is now available on Steam as a free download for Shadow Warrior 2. This adds new weapons and missions to the martial arts shooter remake, which is on sale for 25% off to mark the occasion. This trailer shows off the new content, and here's word:

The Shadow Warrior 2: Bounty Hunt Part 1 DLC piles on the action with fourteen wild new missions, two dazzling new weapons, and four tantalizing new perks for Lo Wang and the gang. Battle alone or with up to four ninjas in crime in some of the most over the top missions yet like Plague of the Bunny Lords, 50 Shades of Shade, and Danger Zone on Mt. Akuma. Strike at the demon hordes with new perks like Revenge and Shared Pain or arm up with the new Medusa Ray and EX-GF01 minigun.

Continue here to read the full story.

Prey Typhon Trailer

Bethesda.net has a new "Typhon Guide" for Prey, looking at the aliens in Arkane Studios' upcoming first-person shooter. This explains the philosophy behind their design and some details on how they operate. They also provide a trailer with a quick look at some of the species you will encounter along the way. Here's the intro with a bit on what this is all about:

Something has gone very, very wrong aboard Talos I. What began as an experiment aimed at bettering humanity has turned into a full-on alien infestation by the previously contained entities called Typhon. Morgan Yu, who is at the center of these experiments, now must fight the Typhon aboard the highly advanced space station owned by the TranStar Corporation. But what exactly are these aliens? Check out this video from TranStar’s Typhon Research Team:

Continue here to read the full story.

Smite Rivals On Hold

Hi-Rez Studios has placed development of Smite Rivals "on hold," reports Kotaku, even though the SMITE spin-off was announced less than 10 weeks ago. They express disappointment in how the Clash Royale-style game was turning out in this brief official statement:

We made a decision this week to put Smite Rivals on hold. While we are still excited by the general concept of Smite Rivals, it was clear after early testing that the game needed significant additional development before releasing. With Smite Tactics, our turn-based strategy game set in the Smite Universe, performing well, we have decided to focus our energies on that for the time being.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Early Access

Origin now offers early access to Mass Effect: Andromeda, providing a first crack the new installment in the spacey shooter/RPG series for Origin Access customers, though some were apparently able to access this extra-early. This includes 10 hours of access, with your progress carrying over to the full game, and it includes both single-player and multiplayer modes. This may not be working out exactly as Electronic Arts would hope, however, as VG247 has a collection of memes and gifs showing off the game's facial animations, which are drawing lots of criticism for being not great. They point to this video with a look at the problem. Continue here to read the full story.

Outlast 2 Refused Classification In Australia

Kotaku Australia has a report that Outlast 2 was Refused Classification by Australia's censors, along with a follow up explaining the reasoning. The classification refusal means the game will not be for sale down under, where some strict standards remain in place, despite the addition of an adult's R18+ rating a few years ago. They say they've inquired whether a re-cut version of the game will be submitted for classification, but have not yet received a response. They also have a detailed description of the scene that triggered banning the game. They also have a description of the offending scene, which describes an "implied sexual assault." That's pretty explicit (hope the AU censors don't get them for posting details from the AU censors), but they have their more general description of the problem:

But Outlast 2 will not be rated in Australia. The board's decision, which have been provided to Kotaku Australia, was based on multiple scenes where - even though it is implied that the main character, Blake, is hallucinating - sexual violence is implied.

MS Game Chat Transcription

The Microsoft Accessibility Blog has details on new game chat transcription features coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One. This will allow voice-to-text translation as well as the ability to convert text-to-voice. The first game supporting this is Halo Wars 2, and they offer instructions on how to enable this option:

Today, Microsoft is releasing a new pilot feature available on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs called Game Chat Transcription. This feature allows speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities, offering a new way to communicate that creates a more accessible and inclusive gaming experience for everyone.

Game Chat Transcription works in two ways:

  • Speech-to-text provides the ability to convert all player’s voice communications in the game chat into text, so the player using this feature can read the text on their screen in real-time.
  • Text-to-speech provides the ability for players using this feature to have their typed text spoken aloud to other players in the game.

Game Chat Transcription will initially be available in Halo Wars 2, with the goal of adding support for more games in the future. We think you will enjoy using this cool new feature, so be sure to try it out!

How to activate this feature:

  1. Go to Settings > All settings > Ease of Access > Game Chat Transcription.
  2. To transcribe other players’ voices into text, select Speech-to-text.
  3. To have your chat text read aloud to other players, select Text-to-speech.
  4. To choose the voice that other players will hear when your chat text is read aloud, select one of the available voices in the Text-to-speech voice menu.

Xbox feature improvements are ongoing and we love receiving your feedback, because it empowers us to achieve more and continue doing better! Please keep reaching out via our Xbox UserVoice forum.

For more information on Game Chat Transcription, please visit this Xbox support page.

MS Forcing Win10 on Latest CPUs?

Microsoft Support explains that the latest AMD and Intel CPUs running older versions of Windows may be turned away at the door by Windows Update, saying impacted users will have to update to Windows 10 for driver and OS updates (thanks DSOGaming). Here's the situation:

Symptoms
When you try to scan or download updates through Windows Update, you receive the following error message:

Unsupported Hardware
Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates.

Additionally, you may see an error message on the Windows Update window that resembles the following:

Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Error(s) found:
Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

Cause
This error occurs because new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support. For example, Windows 10 is the only Windows version that is supported on the following processor generations:

  • Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors
  • AMD “Bristol Ridge”
  • Qualcomm “8996"

Because of how this support policy is implemented, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.

Resolution
We recommend that you upgrade Windows 8.1-based and Window 7-based computers to Windows 10 if those computers have a processor that is from any of the following generations:

  • Intel seventh (7th)-generation "Intel Core" processor or a later generation
  • AMD seventh (7th)-generation (“Bristol Ridge") processor or a later generation
  • Qualcomm “8996" processor or a later generation

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Little Hawk by bZillions, Inc. — Kickstarter. 2D platformer. "Along the way, as Little Hawk, you must use your keen instincts, quick reflexes, and unwavering resolve to overcome many challenging obstacles, enemies, and dangers. While you make your way through various zones, Princess Kyra is trapped in the dungeons deep beneath a cursed castle. After completing each zone, you must play as Kyra and try to ascend from the bowels of the castle toward your ultimate escape. But even in escape, the chance for peril still remains."

Op Ed

PC Gamer -- The Division's Premium Vendor is the worst example of microtransactions yet.
"I took a visit to the Premium Vendor (who’s located in the Terminal if you’re curious—look for the gaudy neon), to see what the fuss is about. And honestly, though I’m not against the idea of paying for cosmetics, The Division’s items might be the most overpriced and underwhelming I’ve ever seen. Even if the blow is softened by a free 170 premium credits through Uplay rewards and another 200 from simply logging in between now and the 16th, these are bad hats. Allow me to take you browsing through the racks of garbage…"

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

MrsBlue needed an external mouse when her laptop trackpad quit on her yesterday. Most of my hardware junk is packed away, so this was an excuse to shop. I usually use Logitech mice, so I gave her mine and took advantage of the occasion by getting myself a new Razer Deathadder Elite to see if my hardware was holding back the pro gamer within (spoiler alert, it wasn't). This is a nice mouse, and I'm quickly getting used to its different feel, even the little nubs that my fingers interpret as the mouse needing a cleaning. One thing I knew from past experience with Razer products (and most hardware for that matter) is that I would rather not install their bloaty driver package if it isn't necessary. I figured the mouse would be fine, and I am correct insofar as it operates properly. However, the fancy RGB lighting that helps you get all the frags refuses to go out when I shut down the PC, which is undesirable. I'll poke around later and see if there is a USB port that completely powers down at shutdown, or a BIOS setting to change to fix this, perhaps the one that allows USB to wake the computer. If all else fails, I'll install the drivers, but a move that radical has to be considered a last resort.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Zombie Apocalypse.
Stories: Going Back to ‘Groundhog Day.’ Again. Thanks j.c.f.
The design philosophies behind some of our favorite movie aliens. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: “White Rabbit” Vocal Track Surfaces. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
Kid Warps To Secret Level.
Rope Start a Car With a Dead Battery.
Follow-up: A 'Matrix' Reboot? Sorry, Warner Bros., That's Not How Nostalgia Works.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.



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