Archived News:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Battlefield V Getting Free Map This Week

EA announces details on Mercury, a new map for Battlefield V that will be a free for all owners of the military shooter sequel when it's released on Thursday. This trailer offers a look, and here are some details:
On May 30, the fight moves to the Mediterranean as a brand-new map becomes part of the ever-evolving Battlefield™ V. Prepare for a violent struggle along a beautiful coastline. This is Mercury*.

Map Overview
Based on the events of Operation Mercury in 1941, this map lets you deploy on the coast of Crete where the British take on the invading German forces. Gameplay-wise, Mercury is all about verticality, all-out war, and asymmetrical vehicle forces; British troops have tanks and only a small number of planes while Germans will control the skies. Leverage the rocky slopes for intense vertical gameplay and close quarters gameplay.

Mercury at a Glance


  • Infantry
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles


  • Medium-Large


  • Moderate-Fast

Mercury caters for many different playstyles. It’s built to be a proper all-out war map, where players will be pushing with tanks, holding out for air support, or desperately defending a flag position. Battlefield veterans will see shades of three classic maps from older titles: Guadalcanal from Battlefield™ 1942, the Altai Range map from Battlefield™ 4, and Battlefield™ 1’s Monte Grappa.

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Railroad Corporation Early Access

Railroad Corporation is now in Early Access on Steam, offering the latest chance to live the life of a transportation mogul in the early days of rail travel. This offers the chance to play the game before it is completed and help keep it on track for its eventual full release. This trailer has a look at the game, and this post has all we need to know:
Relive the pioneering spirit of the Golden Age of Steam by establishing your own railroad empire across 19th century North America. Race against time, and the competition, to bring settlements together, produce and trade goods and develop new technologies.

Allowing players to play the game in Early Access ensures that we can focus on improving the game in advance of the full release later this year. Since the game is unique in that it incorporates both strategy and tycoon elements, as well as a multiplayer mode, we want to make sure that we listen to the community’s feedback in order to develop the best possible version of the game for the full release.


  • Establish a profitable Railroad Corporation in Golden Age of Steam
  • Construct a vast transportation network and trade goods with towns and cities
  • Engage in political lobbying and research new technologies
  • Acquire your own buildings and real-estate
  • Expand your operations with new departments, recruit employees and manage business loans
  • Buy, control and maintain historically accurate locomotives and rolling stock
  • Blast, dig and tunnel across the beautiful frontier landscapes of 19th Century America
  • Compete with a friend in the online multiplayer beta and race to earn $500,000!

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood RTX Support

NVIDIA and Bethesda announce Wolfenstein: Youngblood will include support for real-time ray-tracing effects, NVIDIA Adaptive Shading, and "other advanced gaming technologies" when the first-person shooter is released in July. They celebrate the news with the Born to Hunt bundle, which includes a free copy of the game with the purchase of a qualifying GeForce RTX 20 Series graphics card, gaming desktop, or gaming laptop. Here's a 4K bundle launch trailer along with some details:
To celebrate the return of the Wolfenstein franchise, NVIDIA kicked off a “Born to Hunt” bundle for GeForce RTX™ GPUs, starting today. For a limited time, gamers will receive Wolfenstein: Youngblood, which is scheduled to release on July 26, with the purchase of an eligible GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, 2070 or 2060 GPU-equipped graphics card, desktop PC or laptop.

Ray tracing is the advanced graphics technique used to give movies their ultra-realistic visual effects. NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs contain specialized processor cores designed specifically to accelerate ray tracing so the visual effects in games can be rendered in real time.

“Wolfenstein: Youngblood is an innovative take on the original franchise, which has a rich history of using forward-looking technologies to set its games apart,” said Matt Wuebbling, head of GeForce marketing at NVIDIA. “Bethesda’s use of ray tracing will dramatically enhance the image quality, while NVIDIA Adaptive Shading will boost performance.”
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Free QUAKE II RTX Next Week

Not content with their Wolfenstein: Youngblood RTX bundle, NVIDIA also announces that on June 6th they will release Quake II RTX as a free download. This brings the 20+ year-old shooter into the modern age with ray-tracing support. Word is: "Quake II RTX includes the first three single-player levels of the beloved PC gaming classic. Gamers that already own Quake II can experience the whole game in its entirety, including multiplayer deathmatch and cooperative multiplayer modes, all fully path traced." This trailer offers details on remastering the game, while the official announce trailer offers a look at all the new graphical effects in action. Here's more on what path tracing and Vulkan are adding to this rerelease:
The visually stunning new look of the classic game is achieved by a ray-tracing technique known as path tracing, which traces light rays (paths) through the scene in a way that unifies all lighting effects into a single ray-traced algorithm. This elegant form of rendering is used in computer graphics in films but has previously been too expensive for games.

The lighting effects in Quake II RTX are so advanced they require hardware support for ray tracing, such as the specialized RT Cores found in the Turing™ architecture and NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ GPUs, to run in real time. The minimum specification for running Quake II RTX in real time is a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.

New levels of realism seen in Quake II RTX include real-time, high-dynamic range time of day lighting, with accurate sun light and indirect illumination. Physically based materials are rendered accurately. For example, water and glass refract light accurately, emissive surfaces get dramatic soft lighting effects, surfaces deliver accurate reflections and light sources illuminate surrounding objects. Weapon model details and textures have also been increased, and an improved denoiser has been added to increase image quality.

Quake II RTX uses NVIDIA VKRay™, an extension that allows any developer using the Vulkan API to add ray-traced effects to their games. Building on Q2VKPT, a version of the game created by Christoph Schied using the open-sourced Quake II game engine, Quake II RTX is a pure ray-traced game that runs on a Vulkan renderer with support for Linux.

“Quake II RTX demonstrates that the Vulkan API with real-time ray tracing can be used to create stunning gaming experiences using some of the most advanced rendering techniques available to game developers,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president of developer ecosystems at NVIDIA. “And, having Quake II RTX available as a free download makes it accessible to both Windows and Linux gamers everywhere.”
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Conqueror’s Blade Open Beta Next Week

A post on the Conqueror's Blade website discusses the development of the Territory Wars feature for this MMOG (thanks Óscar). Booming Games also announces that to help get this in order, the game will enter open beta testing on June 4th, and they invite everyone to join in. For those who cannot wait, this post notes that you can buy a Founder's Pack and get into the game starting tomorrow. Here' an open beta cinematic trailer, and here are more details:
The feedback we gather from you during the Open Beta phase will be crucial in completing and polish the new Territory Wars feature. It’s a challenge to create a balanced open world and battleground in which castles and territory can be owned, while still maintaining the visceral and fun medieval experience that we want to offer with Conqueror’s Blade.

We plan to release new updates to add new content to Conqueror’s Blade every few months. These updates will also include patches for fixes, polishing, and updated mechanics for in-development features such as Territory Wars. We are anticipating several changes to Territory Wars with the first planned content update, and rules and mechanics may be altered based on our findings during the beginning of the Open Beta phase and the community’s feedback.

We will reward the very best Houses who land top spots in the Territory Wars leaderboards in recognition of the true effort and skill demonstrated during the testing phase. When we issue these rewards, we will also apply new changes to the Territory Wars endgame, and reset land ownership so that Houses can wage war with the latest rules of engagement applied, and new upgrades implemented. Other House and warlord progress will remain unaffected, with all riches, experience, rewards, cosmetics, and other content left untouched. We just want to make sure everyone is on a level playing field when battle commences!
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Vambrace: Cold Soul Launch Trailer

A new launch trailer is a premature celebration the planned release of Vambrace: Cold Soul, the roguelike adventure coming tomorrow to Windows and macOS. The clip comes with the following description of the game:
About Vambrace: Cold Soul
The King of Shades has cursed the great city of Icenaire. Now cast under a permanent blight of frost fall, its former residents have returned from the dead as mad Wraiths. Survivors take refuge deep underground where they lead a desperate campaign against this unearthly power. Woefully outmatched, they are forced into hiding as the King of Shades amasses an army of the undead above them. One fateful day, a mysterious stranger appears in the city with an enchanted vambrace.

You play as Evelia Lyric, bearer of the Aetherbrace and the only human capable of entering the cursed city of Icenaire. You must choose party members who will lend their unique strengths to your cause. Embark on expeditions and use perceptive allies to avoid traps and strange encounters. Leverage the strengths of fighters and magic wielders to survive deadly combat. You may be Icenaire's only hope…


  • Embark on an epic fanasy-adventure spanning 7 intriguing chapters
  • Complete sub-quests to unlock up to 26 new, thematic character skins
  • Assemble your party from 5 races and 10 unique classes of recruits
  • Craft items and armour from precious materials gathered on your trips that will unlock new skills and enhance stats
  • Make crucial decisions - one wrong turn can seal your party's fate
  • Prepare well or condemn your comrades to permanent death
  • Find codex pages to expand upon the world's history and mythical lore

Continue here to read the full story.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Today is Memorial Day here in the U.S. Here's a respectful salute to those who've sacrificed their lives in combat, along with sincere hopes that we're moving towards a future when no one has to lose their life or loved ones to the horrors of war.

R.I.P.: Legendary Packers HOF QB Starr dies at 85.

Memorial Links: Thanks Ant and RedEye9.
Links: A guide to grilling basics, from prep to cooking and cleaning.
Stories: "Solo" Pair Respond To Sequel Fan Campaign.
How to name your dog without offending its canine sensibilities.
American Tourist Infected With Rat Lungworm After Eating Slug on Dare. Deja vu.
Science: Measles erases the immune system’s memory. Thanks Max.
Media: Ability Point - Epic NPC Man (getting new skills from an NPC).
Filming Inside a Slow Motion Vortex - The Slow Mo Guys. Thanks Hypothermia.
Self Sacrifice To Save A Falling Child.
Follow-up: How Mount Everest’s popularity turned fatal.
The Funnies: xkcd: Swimming.
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