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Friday, Mar 15, 2019 Beware the Ides of March

  

Get GameGuru for Free

GameGuru is available at a 100% discount on Steam all weekend, so this Windows game maker can be yours to keep if you pick it up through Sunday. Here's word on how this can help create games without any jiggery-pokery:

Welcome to GameGuru, game making for everyone. Our mission is to create the easiest and most enjoyable game creator. Join us and our great & enthusiastic community on this journey. Imagine creating a world that you and your friends come together and play... and creating it could be a matter of minutes with no technical jiggery-pokery needed at all! Of course, you can happily spend hours, days..even weeks creating your masterpiece, the great thing about GameGuru is, you won't be held up by learning strange alien languages or using complex modeling tools. The time you spend with GameGuru is all about creating and having fun whilst doing it.

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic Released

Comrade! Early Access to Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is now underway as promised on Steam, offering the chance to practice some socialist management principles. Here's the EA launch trailer, but remember, in Soviet Union, you don't watch trailer, trailer watches you. Here's the release announcement:

Finally the day and the hour we were all waiting for is here; the Soviet Republic game releases as an Early Access title on STEAM!

Thank you all for your support, thanks too for the guys who helped me put Soviet Republic together and bring it to you - the players. Thank you to all the influencers who played the game and helped promote it. I just hope you will like the game.

Remember! This is just the start of the journey. We plan to continue developing and will implement many more features in Soviet Republic (with the next content update - due in a few weeks - you should expect personal cars, a car plant factory, and more!) And also improve or fix existing features!

Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Versus Review Bombing

The Steam Blog announces that Valve is taking aim at review bombing by finding a new way to deal with off-topic reviews (disturbing semi-related note: Valve Removes Over 100 Steam Tributes To Suspected New Zealand Shooter, thanks RedEye9). Here's part of the post explaining the plan:

Obviously, there's a grey area here, because there's a wide range of things that players care about. So how will we identify these off-topic review bombs? The first step is a tool we've built that identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible. It doesn't know why a given game is receiving anomalous review activity, and it doesn't even try to figure that out. Instead, it notifies a team of people at Valve, who'll then go and investigate. We've already run our tool across the entire history of reviews on Steam, identifying many reasons why games have seen periods of anomalous review activity, and off-topic review bombs appear to only be a small number of them.

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

Finally, we've also enabled you to opt out of this entirely, if that's your preference - there's now a checkbox in your Steam Store options where you can choose to have off-topic review bombs still included in all the Review Scores you see.

While we're working on some other features around User Reviews, we thought this one was worth shipping by itself. As always, if you have thoughts or concerns, feel free to voice them in the comments below.

ONE PIECE World Seeker Released

ONE PIECE World Seeker is now available for Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, with the PC edition offered on Steam. The launch trailer from the other day celebrates the release, and the announcement has all the details:

Leading video game publisher and developer, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., today released One Piece World Seeker for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, and PCs via STEAM®. Take control of Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of the worldwide hit One Piece manga and anime franchise, as he explores the vast Prison Island in an attempt to find his crew mates, help the island locals, and ultimately take on the Navy controlling the island.

One Piece World Seeker is an all-new adventure for the fabled Straw Hat Pirates. Led by their captain Monkey D. Luffy, the crew finds themselves in hot water after a botched heist on Prison Island. Prison Island, formerly Jewel Island, known for its precious mineral deposits, has been occupied by the Navy under the command of Issac and has been turned into an island prison. Luffy must team up with the anti-Navy militia, a group of island inhabitants led by Jeanne, who wants to see peace return to her island home. Prison Island offers a diverse ecosystem for Luffy to explore as he fights to save his friends and take back the island for its people.

Throughout their adventure, players will be able to increase Luffy’s move set by investing skill points into three skill trees. As players unlock more skills, Luffy will become more proficient in battle, mobility, and stealth. Luffy will also be able to perform special Haki attacks to clear out groups of enemies and deal massive damage to bosses. As Luffy fights, a tension gauge will begin to fill; if Luffy stops attacking, the tension gauge will begin to drop back down to zero. Multiple tension gauges can be filled to pull-off Luffy’s strongest moves. Luffy can also use his unique extending Gum Gum ability to swing and glide across the island with speed and agility.

“One Piece World Seeker expands the scope of One Piece video games by injecting a wide open island for players to explore in addition to solid action-RPG gameplay,” said Randy Le, Associate Brand Manager at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “The single character focused gameplay allows the development team to create a much more cohesive story for casual and diehard One Piece fans to explore and enjoy.”

Drone Strike Force Closed Beta

Closed beta testing for Drone Strike Force is now underway, offering the chance to check out this competitive multiplayer aerial shooter for Windows between now and Sunday. This announce trailer looks at the game in action, and if you like what you see, you can head over to the Drone Strike Force Website and sign up to participate. Here's Odisi Games droning on about the game:

Odisi Games today announced it is producing and publishing Drone Strike Force, a new competitive multiplayer aerial shooter developed by NGD Studios (Master of Orion, Champions of Regnum). Sign-ups are now open at www.dronestrikeforce.com for the game’s Windows PC closed beta, which begins today.

“Drone Strike Force challenges the standards of online shooters with truly three-dimensional gameplay for competitive, skill-based action that makes full use of the vertical axis,” said David Fridman, founder of Odisi Games.

Emphasizing situational awareness, player tactics and open level design, Drone Strike Force is built for fast-paced aerial combat to showcase the raw power and speed of these cutting-edge machines. Fly and shoot at high velocity while using the environment and your drone’s agile capabilities to outmaneuver enemies and give your team the win. Choose from a number of unique drones, weapons, perks and abilities to customize each loadout to your own personal playstyle.

A glimpse into the possible future of warfare, Drone Strike Force is set in a world where power has shifted from countries to corporations. Weaponized drones are used to further their interests by force, and now the skies rage with rival teams gunning for supremacy.

Drone Strike Force is expected to launch into early access as a premium title on PC later this year. For the latest updates, visit www.dronestrikeforce.com, and follow @DSF_Game on Twitter.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

No Man's Sky Beyond Announced

The No Man's Sky Website announces No Man's Sky Beyond as the next chapter in No Man's Sky, saying this will bring expanded multiplayer support to the procedurally generated space game this summer in an update that will be free for all existing players. They call this "a radical new social and multiplayer experience which empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together." But they also stress that this will not make the game into an MMOG, and that it will involve no subscription fees and no microtransactions. Sean Murray tweets about the news, saying there will be two additional updates in No Man's Sky Beyond beyond No Man's Sky Online, promising more information "soon." In the meantime, they offer this very short teaser trailer along with the following announcement:

We know that there is a lot of hunger out there for news and updates on No Man’s Sky. We wanted to share some information from behind the scenes.

Our next chapter will be called No Man’s Sky: Beyond, coming Summer 2019.

Each chapter for No Man’s Sky has been more successful than the last. Thanks to our community, NEXT our large release last year was especially so. It went on to bring enjoyment to millions of new players, and it helped to change the legacy of this game we care so much about.

Earlier this year, whilst working on our roadmap of three future updates, we decided we wanted to interweave their features, and had a vision for something much more impactful.

We are excited to announce that Beyond will contain those three major updates rolled into one larger free release.

The first component of Beyond we are announcing today is No Man’s Sky Online.

No Man’s Sky Online includes a radical new social and multiplayer experience which empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together. Whilst this brings people together like never before, and has many recognisable online elements, we don’t consider No Man’s Sky to be an MMO – it won’t require a subscription, won’t contain microtransactions, and will be free for all existing players.

These changes are an answer to how we have seen people playing since the release of NEXT, and is something we’ve dreamed of for a long time.

We will talk more about each component when we know we can be precise, and look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks.

Beyond will be our most ambitious chapter so far, and something we’ve been working ridiculously hard on. We’ll continue to support No Man’s Sky in this way for the foreseeable future.

It’s unexpected but so rewarding to see so many accolades and nominations for No Man’s Sky as Best On-going or Most Evolved this year. To some NEXT may have felt like a natural end-point for our journey, but for us it was another step on a longer voyage.

Continue here to read the full story.

DEAD OR ALIVE 6 CORE FIGHTERS Offers Free-to-Play Brawls

Publisher KOEI TECMO America and developer Team NINJA now offer DEAD OR ALIVE 6 CORE FIGHTERS, a free-to-play version of DEAD OR ALIVE 6, their sexy fighting game sequel. You can pick up a copy of the Windows edition on Steam. Here's a launch trailer along with the details:

Today KOEI TECMO America and Team NINJA launched DEAD OR ALIVE 6: CORE FIGHTERS, a new free-to-play experience now available to download for the PlayStation®4 Computer Entertainment System, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and digitally on Windows PC via Steam®.

DEAD OR ALIVE 6: CORE FIGHTERS offers fighting game fans a limited look into the world of DOA6, including four base characters – Kasumi, Hitomi, Diego, and Bass – as well as online ranked battles, Versus, Arcade, Time Attack, Training, and Quest modes. In addition, DOA6’s introduction to Story mode will be unlocked, along with DOA Central, the hub for everything from wardrobe and music to the library and theater.

Today also marks the release of DEAD OR ALIVE 6’s second online update; adding more high-level DOA Quests, a variety of new entrance and victory scenes, and the tuning of costume part earning parameters in order to help enhance the overall gaming experience. Additionally, the first Season Pass content -- the Happy Wedding Vol. 1 pack – is now available, with plenty more on tap for the coming months including more costume packs and two new characters from KING OF FIGHTERS XIV.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Division 2 Released

The standard edition of Tom Clancy's The Division 2 is now available as promised, offering the chance for all customers to play this open-world action/RPG sequel set in a post-pandemic Washington D.C. Those who've preordered the game can pick it up from whatever outlet they chose, but as revealed last week, as of today the game is exclusive to the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store, so any new purchases will have to go through one of those. This is a prominent release, even earning some coverage in USA Today, not normally a hotbed of gaming news. Here's yesterday's What is The Division 2? Trailer and here's word on the game:

In Tom Clancy’s The Division®2, the fate of the free world is on the line.

Lead a team of elite agents into a post-pandemic Washington DC to restore order and prevent the collapse of the city.

The Division 2 is an online, action shooter RPG experience, where exploration and player-progression are essential.

Liberate Washington DC – Save a country on the brink of collapse as you explore an open, dynamic and hostile world.

Stronger with your team – Specialize and fight together with your friends in online co-op or against others in competitive adversial PVP mode.

Genre-defining endgame – Choose a unique class specialization to take on the toughest challenges with friends.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Division 2 Reviews in Progress

Epic Games Store Denies Illicit Scraping; Posts Roadmap

A post on Reddit by notte_m_portent accuses the Epic Games Store of sketchy behavior in collecting user data, including all sorts of accusations about colluding with China. Included in the responses to the post are accusations that among other things, Epic is grabbing Steam data from users. The post inspired a reply from Epic detailing what data they collect, and why. This includes a specific explanation of when they collect Steam data: "We only import your Steam friends with your explicit permission. The launcher makes an encrypted local copy of your localconfig.vdf Steam file. However information from this file is only sent to Epic if you choose to import your Steam friends, and then only hashed ids of your friends are sent and no other information from the file." On a related note, there's also a post from Epic on Trello outlining an Epic Games Store Roadmap with a list of near-, mid-, and long-term plans for the service (thanks VG247).

Another Gearbox Tease

Gearbox tweets another teaser image reflecting their plans to make new announcements this month at PAX East. The new image is a bit blurred, but once again bears a resemblance to Borderlands. The blurb, however, refers to this as "another game," saying: "Time to tease another game for PAX!" Continue here to read the full story.

New AMD Drivers

New Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 Drivers are now available for AMD graphics cards (thanks [H]ardOCP). Here's word on what these bring to the table:

Support For

  • Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI: Gathering Storm
    • Up to 4% average performance gains on AMD Radeon VII with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 vs 19.2.3. RS-288
  • DirectX® 12 on Windows®7 for supported game titles
    • AMD is thrilled to help expand DirectX® 12 adoption across a broader range of Windows operating systems with Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.2 and onward, which enables consumers to experience exceptional levels of detail and performance in their games.

Fixed Issues

  • Radeon ReLive for VR may sometimes fail to install during Radeon Software installation.
  • Fan curve may fail to switch to manual mode after the manual toggle is switched when fan curve is still set to default behavior.
  • Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.

Fenimore Fillmore: 3 Skulls of the Toltecs Re-Released

Fenimore Fillmore: 3 Skulls of the Toltecs is now available for Windows on Steam, offering the promised remake of this classic point-and-click adventure set in the wild west. This carries a 40% launch discount that makes its price $5.99, but oddly there is also a 70% discount on the bundle of this game and the remastered version of Fenimore Fillmore: The Westerner that makes the price for both games $5.93, so it only makes sense to buy that and invest the extra six cents in bitcoin. This trailer shows off how the remastered edition improves upon the original from 1996 and the announcement has more on that:

Among the classics of the golden age of graphic adventures, Fenimore Fillmore: 3 Skulls of the Toltecs is a cult title that has received the highest praise from both the press and the fans of the genre both for its witty history and its delirious dialogues.

Set in the far wild west, the game introduces Fenimore Fillmore, a veteran of the American Civil War who is roaming on the border with Mexico and finds himself in the middle of the fight between the Juaristas and the French troops of the Emperor Maximilian.

“Fenimore Fillmore: 3 Skulls of the Toltecs is a must-have for those who grew up playing legendary hits such as Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Simon the Sorcerer and Day of the Tentacle”, claims Rodrigo Castillo, producer at Casual Brothers. “The spirit of the 90’s is back –now with enhanced visuals up to 4k”.

Join Fenimore Fillmore and speak with more than 30 different characters, solve hundreds of puzzles, and reunite the three skulls to unveil a pre-Columbian treasure. Explore half a dozen regions and get involved in some of the weirdest turn of events in the history of video games.

Features

  • Classic point & click adventure game.
  • Half a dozen wide locations to explore.
  • More than 30 crazy characters to interact with.
  • More than 75 items to use.
  • An infinity of puzzles to solve.

Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

The New Yorker - The Division 2 and the Severing of Politics from Video Games.
"This sort of strategy—an eagerness to borrow the aesthetics and frisson of a political theme without addressing that theme explicitly—faces its own criticism, both from players and from those who work in the industry. Far Cry 5, a recent game from Ubisoft, was set in rural Montana, and saw you play as a local cop facing civil disobedience from a fanatical militia group. The substance of the game was similar to previous entries in the Far Cry series, which were set in places such as Africa, the Himalayas, and Micronesia, but in relocating to Trump-era America—a more proximate locale for much of the game’s audience—the game appeared to reflect current affairs. This, in turn, created an expectation that the game’s developers would supply a commentary that they did not, in fact, provide. For critics, exploiting only the superficial aspects of the setting was both opportunistic and a waste of a valuable platform. "

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Our optimism that the Gunnar-man made a complete recovery from the giardia infection I mentioned recently came crashing to Earth yesterday. Our plucky poodle was very slow during our morning walk, and even more so in the evening, when he also exhibited signs of constipation. Then overnight he started leaving blood spots around, while acting even more under the weather. We assume it's a recurrence of the giardia, and to some degree are hoping it's that, since it seems treatable. We have an appointment with the vet in a bit to check this out, and are quite anxious in the meantime.

Links: Thanks Ant.
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Images: Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo.
Media: The 8 Bit Guy's Dream Computer.
How Flexible Machines Could Save The World.
La Dura Complete: The Hardest Rock Climb In The World.



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