Archived News:

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017

New AMD Drivers

AMD support offers new version 17.11.4 Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition drivers for AMD graphics cards (thanks [H]ardOCP). The release notes indicate these address a couple of bugs and add support for DOOM VFR:
Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.4 Highlights

Support For

  • Oculus™ Dash Open Beta

Fixed Issues

  • Adjusting HBCC segment size on Radeon RX Vega series graphics products may cause system instability on certain configurations.
  • A system hang may be experienced when switching display modes in Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II on certain Radeon graphics products in a Crossfire configuration.
  • Incorrect power and clock values may be reported on some Radeon RX Vega series graphics products.

Bungie Outlines Destiny 2 Plans offers a new The State of Destiny 2 update, outlining plans to improve the first-person shooter sequel, as well as their plans to be more communicative going forward amid complaints about their lack of transparency. The lengthy post discusses fixes for the game's grind with changes to the XP system and better rewards for their most dedicated players. It also goes into detail on new features, items (including a new Masterworks weapon tier), and changes coming in a couple of different patches expected next month. As said, the post is quite lengthy, but the introduction summarizes things concisely:
Hey everyone,

With Destiny 2’s console and PC launches behind us, we want to take some time to talk with you about Destiny 2 – specifically where it’s at today, and where it’s going. Our team has been reading feedback and working on updates to improve the game. We’ve also been reading some tough criticism about our lack of communication, and we agree we need to be more open.

Going forward, Destiny 2’s post-launch game systems, features, and updates are being designed specifically to focus on and support players who want Destiny to be their hobby – the game they return to, and a game where friendships are made. We want Destiny to be a game that fits into your life, providing you with reasons to log in and play with your friends, clans, and families. We want Destiny to be a world you want to be a part of.

A month ago, we published a list of improvements on the blog. Today, we’re going to revisit that list and update its status, and share some of the work the team is readying for December, January, and beyond.

We know it’s frustrating when there isn’t enough of a dialog with the development team. You have our commitment that we’re going to do a better job going forward.

- Luke Smith & Chris Barrett

EA Says Visceral's Cancelled Star Wars Game Was Too Linear has more comments made by Blake Jorgensen at yesterday's Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, where the Electronic Arts CFO commented on the Star Wars game that was in the works at Visceral Games before it was cancelled by EA. He says they still may revive the project with a new developer to salvage some of what went into this, but he explains that as it was, the game was shaping up to be the kind of linear game that EA felt was way too 2012 for modern tastes (though some would question their judgment). Here's their rationale:
"Over the last five or six years, [Visceral Games] had shrunk in size," Jorgensen said. "It was down to about 80 people, which is sub-scale in our business. And the game they were making was actually being supported by a team in Vancouver and a team in Montreal because of that sub-scale nature. And we were trying to build a game that really pushed gameplay to the next level, and as we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a style of gaming, a much more linear game, that people don't like as much today as they did five years ago or 10 years ago."

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Sells 1M

A Steam Community announcement has word from Larian Studios that they are celebrating a milestone for Divinity- Original Sin 2, saying the RPG sequel has now sold more than one million copies (thanks DSOGaming). Here's word:
One does not simply sell a million copies...

... at least, not without the best fans in the world! In just a couple of months we've roared past this huge landmark, and it's all thanks to you. We couldn't have done it without your support, feedback, and faith in us.

Thank you all for helping make this dream come true!

Battlezone Combat Commander Announced

Rebellion today announced Battlezone Combat Commander, a remake of 1999's Battlezone II: Combat Commander they say is coming to Steam and next year. You can hit Wikipedia for a rundown on the original sequel to 1998's Battlezone, which Rebellion says is being updated with upgraded visuals, crossplay multiplayer on GOG and Steam, and modification support. Those interested in this project can sign up on the Rebellion website for news updates and the chance to participate in prerelease beta testing. This reveal trailer offers a first look, and the announcement includes further details:
After Rebellion®'s TIGA Award-nominated remaster of Battlezone® (1998), many fans of the pioneering FPS-RTS hybrid asked for its acclaimed sequel, Battlezone® II: Combat Commander, to receive the same treatment.

Developed by Big Boat Interactive and published by Rebellion®, BATTLEZONE® COMBAT COMMANDER remasters Battlezone® II with slick new visuals, mod support for the game's two-decade old modding scene, cross-play online multiplayer between GOG & Steam for up to 14 players, achievements, Cloud saves only on Steam* and more.

A mysterious alien force threatens humanity itself. In this galaxy-wide war, you are in command of the resistance. Leading from the front, you take to the battlefield in thrilling first-person combat, piloting futuristic, customizable war machines including hover-tanks, colossal mech walkers, lightning-fast mortar-bikes and more.

But you don't just fight from the front - you are in total command! A gripping singleplayer campaign will test your mettle as you learn to plot strategy, construct bases, form your armies, deploy defenses and call in airstrikes. Achieving victory is no mean feat in this remarkable blend of classic real-time strategy and first-person action. To save humanity, you must prove yourself a true combat commander!

BATTLEZONE® COMBAT COMMANDER is coming to Steam & in 2018.
Continue here to read the full story.

ESO Boasts 10M Players, Offers Free Week

A new 10 Million Stories trailer announces over 10 million players have now explored Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls Online, Bethesda's MMORPG. Also, Bethesda announces a free weekend for The Elder Scrolls Online will begin tomorrow and continue until December 6th, making for a week-long weekend (an idea I once unsuccessfully tried to patent). This coincides with bonus rewards being handed out in a #10MillionStories Dungeon Event that offers the chance to get your hands on some of the game's rarest goods in celebration of the game's 10 million users. Finally, there's also a 10 Million Stories sweepstakes with more prizes, including a trip to PAX East 2018. Here are the details on all the promotions:
The PlayStation®4 and PC/Mac Free Play event will begin on November 30 and run until December 6.

If on PlayStation®4, you'll need a PlayStation®Plus membership in order to download and play the game. If playing on PC/Mac, you can download and play for free via The Elder Scrolls Online official site or Steam.

All new ESO accounts are gifted 500 free crowns for use in the in-game Crown Store, allowing you to pick up some useful items such as potions, XP Scrolls, food, or an adorable pet! If you've played ESO during previous free-play events for your platform, you'll find that any previous characters and progression will remain, allowing you to continue your adventures in Tamriel as if you never left. If you decide to buy ESO after the free play event, your characters will be waiting for you.

The ESO game client will be approximately 80GB in size, so ensure you have enough space on your machine's hard drive for the download.

New players can also take part in our In-Game Dungeon event, running from November 30 until December 6. To participate, complete a random dungeon via the Dungeon Finder (Normal or Veteran) to earn a Mysterious Reward Box that could contain a host of in-game rewards or collectible prize packs, including experience scrolls, potions, pets, mounts, and costumes. You can earn one Mysterious Reward Box per day per character.

If you're lucky enough to hit the jackpot, you could even receive a pack of 20 homes or 20 mounts!

Finally, don't forget to sign up for our #10MillionStories Sweepstakes promotion for a chance to win some awesome in-game and real-world prizes (eligibility restrictions apply). You'll even earn one bonus sweepstakes entry for every day you complete a random dungeon!

For more information, including information on prizes, contest rules, and eligibility, visit our #10MillionStories official site.
Continue here to read the full story.

Cobalt WASD This Week

Mojang announces they are releasing Cobalt WASD on Steam on Friday (the Steam page says tomorrow, but it will be right around midnight). This is a multiplayer follow-up to the original Cobalt that they say "introduces competitive team-play in the style of a side-scrolling Counter-Strike (if Counter-Strike had grenades that warp time) and controls tuned for mouse-aim and keyboard." They also say they have updated the original and lowered its price (though it still is $19.99 as of this writing), saying: "Incidentally, we also updated the game’s predecessor, Cobalt, with map and mod support. And we updated the price, too! It’s now only €15. You can buy it in a bundle with Cobalt WASD for €19.99." Here's a launch trailer showing off the original game, and here's word:
Two teams of adorable, somersaulting murder-bots duke it out over successive rounds, one side attempting to plant and detonate bombs in their opponents’ base, and the other, quite reasonably, attempting to stop them. Each round earns money the teams can spend on outlandish equipment and weaponry. Take a stealth suit, slip past the enemy’s defences and snipe from the shadows, or dive straight into the fray, blazing away, deflecting incoming shots with the reflector shield. Or toss a time bomb into the mosh-pit and watch as bullets and bots dance in balletic slow-motion!

Sticky sentry turrets! Teleporter guns! Radioactive crossbows! Grappling hooks! Holographic floating boxes! Jet boots! Healing pumps! Something called the Bullet Shredder! It’s got the lot.

It’s superfast fun with a high skill-ceiling, and a ridiculous number of possible strategies - made even more ridiculous by map and mods support on the Steam Workshop. Made specifically for PC, Cobalt WASD also has mouse-aim, dedicated servers, a gazillion camera settings, a native resolution of 1920x1080 and can even run at 1000 frames per second - all the things PC gamers love!

It costs €6.99, but folks who were alpha testers on the original Cobalt get it for freeeeeee!
Continue here to read the full story.

etc., etc.

EA Still Wants Microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront II notes that Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen commented further on the microtransaction controversy in Star Wars Battlefront II during yesterday's Credit Suisse Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. This situation has provoked so many negative stories (as recently as yesterday) that it's hard to believe the action game sequel came out under two weeks ago. Though the company suspended microtransactions based on the pay-to-win outrage from many fronts (possibly including IP owner Disney itself), Jorgensen says they are still hoping to add them back into the game. They quote him as saying "We're not giving up on the notion of MTX [microtransactions]," because they are looking at "layering in another economic model to try and make up for some of the economics you lose" by not selling DLC. They offer more of his statements on the controversy:
"We're really watching how people are playing the game. We're trying to understand are there certain modes where MTX may be more interesting than not? What are the consumers saying about it? How are the consumers playing the game? What do the metrics look like? We're learning and listening to the community to decide how best to roll that out in the future."

How did EA fail to see the loot box problem coming? "We did some testing around the MTX model but not enough to really understand some of the reactions we ultimately got," Jorgensen said. There were bigger concerns at the time such as the beta working with millions of people playing.

"We pulled-off on the MTX because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic," he added. "The reality is: there's different types of players in games. Some people have more money than time, and some people have more time than money, and you want to always balance those two.

"For us it's a great learning experience. We are trying to run the company with an ear to the consumer at all times, not only in the testing phase but when the game is up and running. We're trying to build games that last for years, not for months... If we're not making mistakes along the way and learning from them, that's when you should worry about us. But our view is these are great opportunities for us to continue to tune the game, to adjust things."

Star Citizen Land Rush

Though the Stretch Goals page on the Roberts Space Industries website shows Star Citizen's crowdfunding campaign has raised over $168 million, Cloud Imperium has figured out another way to raise funds for the space game besides selling virtual ship licenses. Word is they are now licensing land claims. This Q&A covers the details and this video has more. Word is: "Please Note: These claim licenses are being made available for pledging to help fund Star Citizen’s development. The ability to obtain these claim licenses will ultimately be available for in-game credits and/or otherwise earnable through play in the game. Pledging for these claim licenses now allows us to include deeper features in the Star Citizen game, and is not required for starting the game." VG247 notes that these parcels are priced like full games, ranging from $50 to $100. Continue here to read the full story.

Battlerite Prehistoric Mania Event

Stunlock Studios announces a new old school age is beginning today in Battlerite with their Prehistoric Mania event. For the next two weeks, those who play the free-to-play online brawler on Steam will earn stone-age cosmetics, including dinosaur mounts. A new video shows off some of the new goodies, and this announcement fills in more details:
Ride dinosaurs in style as Battlerite’s Prehistoric Mania event takes over. Starting today, November 29th, for a period of two weeks players will have a chance to obtain and enjoy tons of Stone Age themed cosmetics including new weapons, poses, avatars, dinosaur mounts and six brand new legendary outfits. Everybody can join the event and get their hands on Prehistoric chests by completing quests or purchasing them with in-game currency.

Battlerite is a fast-paced team arena brawler focused on competitive PvP combat. Players select a champion and engage in quick 2v2 and 3v3 battles to the sound of the roaring crowd in vibrant, colosseum-style surroundings. Since the free-to-play launch in early November, already 1.6 million unique players have tried their luck in the arena, shooting Battlerite up to the ‘top selling’ free-to-play games list on Steam.

Prehistoric Mania begins on November 29th and ends December 12th
Continue here to read the full story.

SpellForce 3 Orc Trailer

With SpellForce 3, due for release next week, THQ Nordic reveals Orcs are the third faction in the RTS/RPG. They show off some Orcy shenanigans in a new gameplay trailer and offer some details on their role in the game:
"At the heart of existence, there is conflict. The wolves hunt the deer, the deer run from the wolves; if there were no deer, the wolves would starve, and if there were no wolves, the deer would breed with no constraint, until there’s nothing left for them to eat."

The orcs of SpellForce 3 live for the fight. They believe that strength only comes from conflict, and that peace is a sign of weakness. It is no wonder, then, that the orcs count on brutal tactics on the battlefield. They come with fierce fighters, fearsome wolf-raiders, devastating magic and giant trolls to smash any resistance without mercy.
Continue here to read the full story.

Crest Community Update

Beware Cavity Creeps, a new community update for Crest is now available, with the goal of giving players of the early access god game more ways to express themselves. This Steam update has details and a new trailer celebrating the news. Here's the announcement:
Crest lets you explore the high-concept of religion by building your own. By only communicating with your followers by issuing commandments, Crest offers a unique approach to the classic god game genre. How these commandments are interpreted and remembered, depends on the experiences your followers make and will constantly change. Crest is currently out in Early Access and is set to release Q1 2018.

Today's release of the community update includes:

  • Monuments: Your followers are now able to build monuments to commemorate you. Each monument consists of three different tiers, each boosting esteem of your followers.
  • Remnants of the world: Slowly degrading ruins, areas paved with skeletons of previous wars or hunting sprees - the world remembers your actions now more visually.
  • Event notifications: A customizable bulletin board informs you about everything that happens in the world to give you a much better overview.
  • Storybuilder: Reminisce over your past playthrough by reading individually built stories of your world's history.
  • Lots of general improvements on performance & balancing

The whole changelog can be found here. The studio also critically looked at the current flaws of the game and released a detailed post about what will be tackled next and the reasoning for it.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Happy birthday to Pong, as the seminal sports videogame was first released 45 years ago today. Nerdist has a retrospective, calling it "the most important videogame ever." It's easy to see the point, as prior to that any computer games were the province of those with access mainframe computers, but Pong brought them to the masses, ushering in both arcade gaming and home consoles. The Atari brand has bounced around over the years, but the company is still out there, and they have declared today Pong Day. They celebrate by touting a new ATARI Table Pong Project that's expected next year, and going from the sublime to the ridiculous, they also offer a Limited Edition Pong Speaker Hat, which will have to speak for itself, because it leaves us speechless.

Speechless Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Match Masters.
Links: Big Bang Theory: Everyone Is Bad at Fake-Eating.
Stories: Scientists ask for glitter ban to curb pollution in oceans. And getting busted for going to strip clubs.
FDA Warns Dog Owners About Dog Bone Treats.
Syfy's Nightflyers Series Will Have a 10-Episode First Season.
Science: Science shows why it’s important to speak — not write — to people who disagree with you.
Study: Opening Windows and Doors Improves Sleep Quality.
Korean scientists develop potential cure for hair loss.
Media: Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War Official Trailer.
Freeze! Most entertaining NZ Police recruitment video yet!.
Follow-up: UT study: Fracking-related activities have caused majority of recent Texas earthquakes.
The Funnies: Adult Children.
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