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Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 Happy Birthday Duke Nukem 3D

PC Building Simulator Released

PC Building Simulator is out of Early Access and now officially available on Steam, offering a game based on building your own computer. This Windows game requires an Intel Core i5-2500K or an AMD Athlon X4 740 CPU paired with a GeForce GTX 660 or a Radeon R9 285 graphics card, so chances are you won't need to build a new PC to play it. This trailer looks at the game in action, and the announcement explains what to expect:
In PC Building Simulator you are the ultimate PC builder: run your own PC repair workshop and take care of everything from simple diagnosis and upgrades to creating bespoke, boutique creations that any gamer would love to own. PC Building Simulator uses real-world parts from manufacturing partners such as AMD, ASUS, CORSAIR, Deepcool, EVGA, Fractal Design, GIGABYTE, MSi, NVIDIA, NZXT, Razer, Thermaltake and more complete with simulation benchmarking software 3DMark.

In 2017 a free tech demo of PC Building Simulator was the 3rd most downloaded free Itch.io title that year and was quickly scooped up by London-based publisher and amateur PC builders The Irregular Corporation, who expertly worked to craft the game into a fully-fledged simulation complete with real-world hard software and hardware partners to allow players to learn and build the PC of their dreams. Updates throughout Early Access included all-new features such as custom water cooling, customizable cables, and overclocking, plus more than 200 new licensed parts because we think you deserve the most options.

PC Building Simulator currently boasts a ‘very positive’ user rating on Steam with more than 5000 reviews from its dedicated fan community. Leaving early access doesn’t mean the end of developer support, The Irregular Corporation plans to bring further new partners, parts and features following the title’s official launch.
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Earth Atlantis Released

Earth Atlantis is now available on Steam, offering a side-scrolling shooter for Windows with a hand-drawn, monochromatic art style. Last week's Steam Announcement trailer offers a look at that style as well as the game's bullet hell action. Here's the pitch:
"The Great Climate Shift" struck at end of the 21st century. Ninety six percent of the earth’s surface is underwater. Human civilization has fallen. Machines have adopted the shape and form of marine animals.
The ocean is full of creature-machine hybrid monsters. You are a “Hunter” and the new journey begins…

Earth Atlantis is a side-scrolling shooter with an original "Monster-Hunting" gameplay. Search and hunt down dreadful sea monsters and explore the post-apocalyptic underwater world. Unlock multiple ships with special weapons and abilities for your journey and become a legendary hunter!

The game is presented in a very unique and artistic “Old Sketching” visual style, which expresses the essence of the 14th century’s ocean exploration when the sea was considered a dangerous place full of monsters.
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BATALJ Next Month

Fall Damage Studio announces a February 21st release date for BATALJ, declaring closed beta testing of this turn-based strategy game a success. The original reveal trailer and a gameplay introduction with developer commentary are the two full videos released for this so far, though there are a bunch of shorter unit introduction clips on the developer's YouTube channel. Here's the announcement:
Independent developer Fall Damage Studio today announced that its turn based action strategy game BATALJ will be launching on February 21st. Having extended its closed Beta by a whole month the development team has utilized the time to process crucial player feedback on units, squad combinations and different maps.

“We’ve been hard at work getting the game as polished and stable as we can. The team set out to deliver three factions, nine heroes and 54 units - and that’s what we’re doing. Ultimately giving players millions of squad variants to play around with and ‘break the meta’. We are super excited to announce that the release date for BATALJ will be the 21st of February.” said Anders Gyllenberg, CEO at Fall Damage.

BATALJ allows players to custom build their own squads from one of three available factions in the game, Rusters, Re-Linked or Splicers, all providing a unique set of different skills and abilities. BATALJ players create squads with one of nine different heroes and a selection from 54 different units to explore a myriad of tactical options, allowing them to engage in different strategies against their opponent.

The simultaneous turn based nature of BATALJ means that there's very little downtime between turns providing players with a fast paced strategy game as they attempt to outwit each other with a combination of units and heroes in the ultimate turn based head to head experience.
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Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions Announced

PlayFusion and Games Workshop announce Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions for Windows, macOS, and Switch, ending an unusual two-month drought absent of new Warhammer game announcements. They support the news with an ultra-widescreen Cinematic Trailer that reveals this game is already available for mobile devices. Here's word on plans to expand its reach to Steam and Switch:
PlayFusion and Games Workshop have forged an alliance to bring the hugely successful trading card game; Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions to both Nintendo Switch and Steam PC/Mac. With the rampant success of the physical and digital game, with 20,000,000 physical cards sold and over 1,000,000 digital matches played, the Mortal Realms are teeming with Champions to challenge.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is a modern collectible card game that presents a connect play experience; by blending physical and digital card collections, players can scan physical cards into your collection to claim them and take them to conquer the battlefield.

Take the custom crafted decks from one of the four Grand Alliances and challenge friend or foe across the world, and across platforms! Pick up a Nintendo Switch, grab a mouse and take battle-ready decks and battle opponents on all playable devices.
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Dota 2 Ranked Season Update

A New Ranked Season Update on the Dota 2 Blog announces the ranked season changes present in today's Dota 2 patch:
Today’s update unveils a New Ranked Season, a gameplay balance update and new additions to Dota Plus, including four exclusive Dota Plus item sets for Monkey King, Medusa, Enchantress, and Centaur.

Dota Plus subscribers also have a new set of Seasonal Quests to complete during the new ranked season. Check out the full list on the new Dota Plus home tab, available by clicking your shard total in the top-right corner of your screen.

To mark the start of a new Ranked Season, all Rank Medals have been reset and players have a chance to recalibrate. In this new season, Rank Medals now have seven star tiers instead of five, offering more rank precision and opportunities to advance. As a bonus, players in each Rank tier will gain access to new emoticons based on their rank.

Also included for the new ranked season, you can now see your numerical behavior score in your profile and conduct summaries, allowing greater insight into how conduct affects everyone’s enjoyment of the game.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The Mystery at the Bottom of Physics (NSFW).

R.I.P.: James Ingram Dies at 66. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Alice: Asylum (Alice 3) and Alice "Vacation Destination" Possible

American McGee's Blog notes that the designer is currently working on design, art, and story for Alice: Asylum (aka Alice 3), a new entry in his retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story that will serve as a prequel to the earlier games. Word is this "will present the story before “American McGee’s Alice,” with young Alice fighting through the trauma of losing her family." They offer a few ways to support this effort, including a Patreon. There's also an interesting post by American on Facebook talking about plans for a new development studio in Thailand where he ponders the idea of turning this into some form of Alice theme park for those devoted to the franchise:
One idea I have for the new development studio in Thailand is that we'd also make it a vacation destination for Alice fans. Imagine a location where you can take the most amazing cosplay photos, explore The Cheshire's Forest, or interact with an animatronic Mad Hatter. Spend a few nights in the Queen's Castle? Just don't lose your head!

DiRT Rally 2.0 System Specs

The Steam Listing for DiRT Rally 2.0 now offers system specifications for the upcoming off-road racing sequel (thanks DSOGaming). Here's what it will take to drive this:
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
MINIMUM:
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: 64bit versions of Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10
Processor: AMD FX4300 or Intel Core i3 2130
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: AMD HD7750 or NVIDIA GTX650Ti
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 50 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX® Compatible soundcard

RECOMMENDED:
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: 64bit versions of Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X or Intel Core i5 8600K
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: AMD RX Vega 56 or NVIDIA GTX 1070
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 50 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX® Compatible soundcard

S.W.I.N.E. Remaster Plans

Kite Games announces they are working on a remastered version of S.W.I.N.E., a porcine strategy game where armies of pigs do battle against armies of bunnies. This was originally released back in 2001, and the plan is to go whole hog this spring with updated HD graphics and other modernizations. The S.W.I.N.E. Website has details, the game's Steam Listing is now online, and an announcement trailer offers a first look. S.W.I.N.E. developer Stormregion no longer exists, but the announcement says Kite Games is getting the band back with part of the core of the original team:
This funny strategy war game, which was first released in 2001, allows you to fight leading the aggressive pigs or the peace-loving rabbits to victory in several battles. As most strategy games, S.W.I.N.E. focuses on the strategic aspect of the battles. You don’t have to construct buildings or collect resources. Instead, the player needs to capitalize on the strategy points and use them to expand and develop their army. However, it can happen that the player can order new units during a battle.

The game will be released in the spring of 2019 on Steam for € 9.99.

18 years later, a few core members of the original developer team helps us relive the iconic slogans and legendary fights. The remastered version of the game brings a new appearance and new content as well. Camera movements were modified (extended zoom range) and a more detailed battlefield was developed. Units also received a better texture, and they are more lifelike due to animated unit movement. The official online multiplayer mode will become available again, and you can also enjoy the LAN parties soon.

For this unique edition, the original game was remastered with so much care, love and attention that only the original developers and a few hardcore fans could give.
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Windscape in March

Headup Games announces a March 27th release date for Windscape, a first-person exploration game that's an admitted tribute to Zelda and its ilk. The game is currently in Early Access for Windows on Steam. The game will also make its way onto consoles at that time, and they celebrate the news with a release date trailer showing off gameplay. Here's a snippet about the game:
In Windscape you meet peaceful NPCs on the surface of each island and vicious monsters in the dungeons and lairs you uncover along your journey. While the islands to work in a non-linear manner, the dungeons are more puzzle and combat driven - each with its own style and atmosphere. However, brute force won't get you far in larger boss fights. Tactics and figuring out your enemies' combat patterns are key to defeating larger foes such as ghosts, ogres and dragons. Your effort will be rewarded of course - there are many valuable items to loot!
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League of Legends Lunar Revel

League of Legends Website announces that this year's Lunar Revel is now underway in Riot's MOBA. They outline how you can revel in the occasion for free or by purchasing a Lunar Revel Pass:
Lunar Revel returns to Summoner’s Rift from January 28, 2019, at 8:00 AM PT – March 4, 2019, at 11:59 PM PT. Learn more about the event details below, including missions, loot rewards, and new skins, including Firecracker Vayne Prestige Edition.

*Firecracker Vayne Prestige Edition features unique ability VFX, model changes, an exclusive border, and special splash art. You do not need Firecracker Vayne to unlock the Prestige Edition skin. This skin can be unlocked from rerolling three skin shards, and it can also drop from loot (like Mythic skins).

Purchasing the Lunar Revel Pass early is the best way to increase your Lunar Revel Token earn rate, as the pass’s First Win of the Day tokens only bank once you buy the pass.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Arctic Freezer 34 eSports DUO CPU Cooler on Overclocked Inside.
  • ASRock Z390 Extreme4 Motherboard on ThinkComputers.org.
  • ASUS TUF Gaming K5 Keyboard on Vortez.
  • Cooler Master SK630 Keyboard on APH Networks and TechPowerUp.
  • Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on TweakTown.
  • Focals by North Smartglasses on WIRED. Oddly doesn't carry their paywall popup.
  • Huawei Matebook 13 Laptop on Ars Technica.
  • Patriot Viper Steel 4000 MHz CL19 DDR4 on Guru3D.
  • Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD on TweakTown.
  • Tesoro Gram Spectrum TKL Keyboard on APH Networks.
  • Thermaltake Riing Trio 12 RGB Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition Triple Pack on Vortez.
  • TT Premium X1 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on Nikk Tech.

Out of the Blue

My mouse is starting to act a little flaky... it's a movie I've seen before: I'm highlighting instead of dragging-and-dropping at some points, indicating the left button is starting to intermittently fail. This is a Razer Deathadder Elite, and the product page claims this is a mechanical switch that's "durable up to 50 million clicks," so either it's falling short of their specification, or I have been executing more than 70,000 left clicks per day, which seems farfetched. Being under two years old, it's still under warranty, so I guess I should look into the repair/return process, though the temptation is to just pick up a replacement and be done with it. I guess I'll look around and see if there's something newer that appeals to me and let that help me decide.

Clicky Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: Why Women Have to Wait in Longer Bathroom Lines Than Men Do. Thanks RedEye9.
Stories: This company wants to use reentry heating to roast coffee beans. Gamely try to present it as a non-gimmick. Thanks Neutronbeam.
'If you don’t have to be outside, don’t': Chicago braces for brutal temperatures.
Science: Funky mirror turns electric field into a magnetic field with missing pole. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: The Wandering Earth - Earth Engines Trailer. Thanks The Verge via Neutronbeam.
A Man Goes to a Stranger's Bachelor Party.
When Mum and Dad go dancing...on ice.
Follow-up: Some states allow parents to get out of vaccinations. Then this happens.
Jeff Bridges Returns as The Dude From 'The Big Lebowski' in Stella Artois Super Bowl Ad. The dude imbibes. Thanks RedEye9.