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Wednesday, Jul 10, 2019

Rocket League Free Weekend

To celebrate the birthday of the high octane sports game, Rocket League is free-to play on Steam through this weekend, and is on sale for half-off. This post has the details:
Hit the Rocket League pitch this weekend, and be sure to bring your friends. The full game will be playable for free all weekend long on Xbox and Steam beginning Wednesday, July 10 until Monday, July 15.

This is the best time to check out all the content jam packed into the game for the summer—specifically Radical Summer. Our '80s-themed in-game event is in full swing. Earn Cassettes from playing Online Matches, which can be redeemed for unique in-game items inspired by '80s culture. Jump into Casual, Competitive, and Extra modes, or try out the new limited-time mode, Spike Rush. Any items that are earned from the Free Weekend will carry over to the full game if you decide to purchase Rocket League during or following the Free Weekend.

Check out the start and end time for the Free Weekend below. Keep in mind, you'll need Xbox Live Gold to play for free on Xbox. Good luck and have fun!

  • Start time: Wednesday July 10, 10:00 a.m. PDT (5:00 p.m. UTC)
  • End time: Monday July 15, 10:00 a.m. PDT (5:00 p.m. UTC)

Rainbow Six Siege Bans

A post on Reddit gave advance warning of a ban wave that would hit Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege today for players who were using a chat symbol to deliberately crash multiplayer games in the military shooter (thanks PCGamesN). Word is: "These bans are targeting players that abused the chat symbol exploit to crash matches. They will have varying lengths, depending on the frequency and severity of the exploit's usage. This is our next step towards sanctioning players that knowingly and deliberately take advantage of exploits to the detriment of the overall match." The banhammer obviously came down as promised, as this post describes seeing 200 players banned in under a minute and this one shows a wave of bans during a pro league broadcast.

Blood Bowl: Death Zone Released

Blood Bowl: Death Zone is now officially available on Steam after almost a year of Early Access for this one-on-one variation on the Warcraft-inspired tackle football of Blood Bowl. This post discusses what's changed between Early Access and the full release, and the announcement has even more:
After a promising Early Access phase, Cyanide and Bigben proudly announce the official release of Blood Bowl: Death Zone on Steam.

Blood Bowl: Death Zone is a fast-paced game of football and violence, based on Games Workshop’s cult board game. Two opponents each take control of a 4-player team and battle it out in real-time matches that last for five minutes.

All the Old World races are allowed to play: Orcs, Dwarfs, High Elves, Chaos, Undead, Lizardmen and even Humans. Contrary to other, mundane, sports Blood Bowl: Death Zone means more than just passing and running with the (wandering squig) ball; it also includes punching opponents in the face and blasting them with a variety of spells.

During the 11 month Early Access phase, Cyanide was able to update and improve the game thanks to feedback from the community: new teams, new skills, a single player campaign as well as many key changes to gameplay were added.

To celebrate its official release, the game is available at a 50% discount for a limited period.

Blood Bowl: Death Zone offers:

  • 14 teams built from the most popular races in the Blood Bowl universe
  • 14 Star Players, each with their unique style, strengths and weaknesses
  • 20+ unique player skills
  • Single player mode with 6 leagues to unlock and complete
  • Multiplayer league and one-off matches

Goat of Duty Early Access

Goat of Duty is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering a multiplayer first-person shooter. As you can infer from the title, this puts you in the role of an armed goat, and the game's competitive nature will give you a chance to bleat the opposition into submission. You can goat to YouTube for a launch trailer with a look at gameplay, and read on for more details if this has you feeling horny:
In this Early Access version of the game you can play 4 game modes: Free For All, Gun Deathmatch and Herd Wars (Team Deathmatch), plus the exclusive game mode Fus Ro Arena, where players compete armed only with their horns and the Fus Ro Bleat gun. Also, you can choose between 25 different goatstumes (skins) that you can unlock as you level up in the game to show everybody who is king of the arena in a game that supports high refresh rates (from 75 to 200Hz) to have every single frame of your goat under control with a one click matchmaking so you can jump right into the crazy action. Play as a dangerous goat biker from the feared band Goats of Anarchy, or as the adventurous Goat Lara, or the fearsome Goat of War. And of course, Goat of Duty will receive updates and new content during its Early Access period. Do not worry, you won’t run out of goats!
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The Division 2 Free Content This Month

Ubisoft offers a State of the Game Recap for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 rounding up details from a livestream broadcast on the topic. This includes a discussion of upcoming content releases for their open-world shooter sequel. The main focus is Episode 1, which will come on July 23rd for Year 1 pass holders and on July 30th for other owners of the game. This post has more specifics on that, which will include game improvements as well as new content. Here's more:
Today, Ubisoft announced new details and the release date of its first episode, the latest major update for Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2, available on the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 will also launch on the new generation gaming platform, Stadia. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 will also be available on Uplay+, Ubisoft’s subscription service. More details on Uplay+ can be found on Uplay.com**.

Part of the game’s Year 1 free content plan, Episode 1 – D.C. Outskirts: Expeditions takes the fight outside the streets of Washington D.C. The fresh content for Episode 1 features new locations to explore and picks up where the story leaves off after the final boss at Tidal Basin. Episode 1, along with the new Expeditions experience, will release July 23rd for all Year 1 Pass holders and July 30th for all players.

Episode 1 – D.C. Outskirts: Expeditions takes players to the surrounding areas of Washington D.C. in two new main missions and a new game experience where players will investigate the fate of a lost convoy, encountering unexpected threats along the way. Players can look forward to the following content in Episode 1 – D.C. Outskirts: Expeditions:
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Moons of Madness Trailer

A new trailer from Funcom shows off 12 minutes of gameplay from Moons of Madness, the cosmic horror game planned for release around Halloween of this year. Here's word on the clip and the game, which builds upon the lore of their Secret Worlds Legends:
Stuck in a top-secret research facility on Mars, there is literally no escape from the horror that unfolds for player-character Shane Newehart when Moons of Madness releases on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One this Halloween. Described as “Lovecraft in space”, the cosmic horror game was well-received during its’ showcasing at E3 earlier this year. Now developer Rock Pocket Games and publisher Funcom grant players a further glimpse into what they can expect from the highly anticipated game.

In Moons of Madness you play Shane Newehart, a technician stationed at the Invictus, a secret research base built by the Orochi group. Your low security clearance means you are completely unaware of the existence of a mysterious, intelligent signal that has been detected on the red planet. Your job is simply to keep the lights on until the transport ship Cyrano arrives bringing with it a new team to take over your duties. Soon you discover strange and unusual setbacks. Crucial systems are malfunctioning, the greenhouse is filled with a strange mist and the rest of your team have yet to return from their EVA mission. You begin seeing and hearing things that aren’t there. Visions, hallucinations – or is that even what it is? Is this real… or are you slowly descending into madness?

Moons of Madness draws upon the rich lore and mythology of Funcom’s Secret World Legends. Both games exist in the same thematic universe, but playing one is not a prerequisite to enjoy the other.
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Starbase Video

Boltcrackers Episode 2 is a new video for Starbase featuring Dr. Bolt, a robot scientist and Bob, his robot robot, who shed more light on the upcoming space game. Here's word:
Frozenbyte has released a second episode of Starbase Boltcrackers - an investigative video series that attempts to answer community questions related to various features and their interactions in Starbase.

In this episode, Dr. Bolt and his trusted assistant Bob investigate interactions with tractor beams, cargo beams and cargo holds, and perform some crash tests between several spaceships.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

Amazon Making The Lord of the Rings MMOG

Amazon Game Studios announces they are partnering with Middle-earth Enterprises and Leyou Technologies to create a free-to-play MMOG based on The Lord of the Rings for Windows and consoles. This does not yet carry a release date, but Gematsu has a press release revealing this is based on the novels rather than the movies:
Set in the world of Middle-earth portrayed in The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy, the game will give fans around the globe a new, immersive game experience for epic exploration of the vast world of Tolkien. In addition to the game development collaboration, Amazon Studios is separately developing a new Amazon Original TV series based on The Lord of the Rings for Prime Video unrelated to the game.

Amazon Game Studios and Leyou will jointly develop the game for PC and consoles, and Amazon Game Studios will market and publish the title globally with the exception of China, which will be managed by Leyou. The collaboration brings together Amazon’s game technology and talented MMO developers, and Leyou’s expertise in designing free-to-play games and operating live-service games.

“We’re committed to bringing customers games of the highest quality, both with our own original IP as well as beloved cultural pillars like The Lord of the Rings,” said Christoph Hartmann, VP, Amazon Game Studios. “Tolkien’s Middle-earth is one of the richest fictional worlds in history, and it gives our team of experienced MMO developers–from the same studio developing New World–tremendous opportunity to play and create. We have a strong leadership team in place to helm this new project, and we’re actively growing our team to help build this incredible experience.”

“Bringing Middle-earth to life necessitates having the very best partners, and Amazon’s customer obsession, technology, and talented teams make it the ideal choice for a co-developer and publisher,” said Alex Xu, CEO of Leyou Technologies Holdings. “We believe our combined resources and expertise will result in a beautiful and compelling game that customers will love and play for years to come.”

“Who among us hasn’t wanted to take part in an epic adventure,” said Fredrica Drotos, Chief Brand and Licensing Officer at Middle-earth Enterprises. “More than 60 years after the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, we’re delighted that Amazon Game Studios has partnered with Leyou to bring their respective expertise to build a much anticipated game that will immerse us in the beloved, epic world of Middle-earth, envisioned by Professor Tolkien.”

The Amazon Game Studios leadership team includes veteran developers who helped create of some of the world’s most popular MMO games. Amazon Game Studios is also home to New World, an in-development sandbox MMO game set in an alternate 17th century world.

SolSeraph Released

Steam News announces the release of SolSeraph, a tower defense platformer from ACE Team with a throwback flair: "Build your cities and set up defensive structures to protect them from the constant threat of monsters. Brought to you by ACE Team, SolSeraph combines action and strategy for a rich gameplay experience reminiscent of the 16-bit era." The Announcement Trailer offers a look and here are the details:
In this game you are put in the wing-tipped shoes of an almighty divinity who is tasked with rebuilding civilization while protecting the people from the constant threat of mythical demons and monsters! This game is a homage to some inspiring titles from the 16 bit era.

SolSeraph Key Features:

  • Restore Humanity Back to Prosperity – Balancing side-scrolling action and top-down strategy elements, carefully guide each tribe from the clouds above in order to help expand their territory and dispel the dark fog that shrouds their lands. Once each of the creatures’ lairs have been exposed, you must take the role of Helios to fight the monsters head on.
  • Take the Fight to the Enemy – Armed with his sword, shield, and magical archery, Helios will need to confront a range of enemies including goblins, beastmen, bat riders, and more on his way to facing the Younger God that controls them. Defeating these challenging foes will grant Helios new magical powers such as healing herbs and ice shards.
  • Protect the Homeland – Help each tribe determine how to shape their village by utilizing a range of different units, from houses and farms to support the growing population, to building warrior barracks and archer towers to defend themselves against the waves of monster attacks.
  • Help from the Highest Powers – Yuzo Koshiro, the legend behind many classic video game soundtracks, has composed the opening theme to SolSeraph. Additionally, acclaimed writer Jonas Kyrazes (The Talos Principle, The Sea Will Claim Everything) has lent his talents to craft the game’s compelling narrative.

Continue here to read the full story.

Godhood Early Access

Godhood is now available in Steam Early Access and GOG.com In development offering the chance to create and manage your own religion. Always remember, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say, yes! This Early Access Trailer offers a look at what to expect and the announcement offers these details:
Godhood is set in a lush isometric world and allows players to create their own customized religion. As a newfound deity, players can choose holy commandments, decree what is a virtue or a vice, construct holy sites, perform miracles, and defeat rival deities and their believers in ritual combat.

Prospective gods in Godhood can take any form or shape as they wish, but will soon learn that followers come with an inconvenient free will and that control over their worshippers isn’t guaranteed. In this challenging strategy management title, the number of followers equals power, and as rival gods will attempt to convert your flock, holding on to your worshippers is vital. Acting as gods, players will send their most trusted disciples, strengthened by rituals, to battle their opponents in turn-based combat known as Sacraments.

“The time has come to finally set Godhood free in the wild,” said Rick Sorgdrager of Abbey Games. “And we couldn’t be happier to launch our new game into Early Access today. We’ve worked hard to get to this point: from the initial sketches and prototypes, to our Kickstarter and our closed Alpha. It’s been a long road, one we couldn’t have walked alone without the help from our dedicated community. This is only the start; expect much more exciting new content, new features, and new gods in the coming weeks and months!”

The Early Access launch of Godhood features four religious dogmas to mix and match, 13 unique classes of disciples, a large variety of abilities and relics, dozens of missions, and over 20 buildings to construct and customize. Abbey Games is committed to develop Godhood with the active support of the community and players while in Early Access, and expects to make frequent updates to their new game, refining and enhancing the core gameplay experience, as well as adding new content such as god customization options, beliefs, missions, and holy temples.
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Battlerite Battle Season 3 Begins, Support Scaling Back

A post on The Future of Battlerite on the Battlerite Blog has outlook from Stunlock Studios on the future of their mini-MOBA Battlerite and Battlerite Royale, its related battle royale game. The good news is that Season 3 is now underway, and they offer Battlerite Arena Patch 2.2 Notes and Battlerite Royale Patch 1.2 Notes with all the details. They are also cutting prices for all champions. The bad news is that they are scaling back support for both games, saying they will share additional details about their plans before the season concludes on October 23rd. For now they say that while they plan to keep the servers running, plans for a tournament system are being scrapped as they get set to move on to their next project. Here's more:
We love Battlerite. And we know that you do too. But today we’re announcing that we will be scaling back on development, and things will be changing moving forward.

With the state of the current playerbase we’re no longer in a position where working on Battlerite and Battlerite Royale are sustainable as main projects for the studio. We’ve seen declining player numbers and player investment for a while now, and diminishing returns on all of our latest gameplay changes and marketing campaigns. While players are willing to try out Battlerite and Battlerite Royale for a while, retaining them has always been our biggest challenge.

Battle Season 3 and the associated Battle Pass will be the last that we have planned for the foreseeable future. We are exploring ideas for development after Battle Season 3, and will announce any potential plans closer to the end of the Season. The servers regardless will stay online.

With this in mind, we wanted to share what plans we currently have for Battlerite and Battlerite Royale.

Battle Season 3
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StarCraft Cartooned Released

A new video from Carbot Animations announces that StarCraft Cartooned is now available in the Blizzard Shop, offering the promised reskin for StarCraft that changes all the graphics in the real-time strategy sequel into Carbot cartoon animations. This comes with a $9.99 USD price tag, and word is, "Every purchase of this graphics pack for StarCraft Remastered supports CarBot Animations. It also shows Blizzard you want to see more Blizzard & CarBot collaborations." Here's more:
Return to Glory
With StarCraft: Cartooned you can experience StarCraft’s classic gameplay with all-new, lighthearted cartoon graphics! StarCraft: Cartooned reimagines every unit, structure, map, menu and story mission in the game, drawing on the lovable artistic style of Carbot Animations, with full gameplay and online

A Fresh Look for a Classic
Infuse your StarCraft: Remastered experience with the lighthearted charm of Carbot Animations! Whether you’re returning to the Koprulu Sector or visiting for the first time, StarCraft: Cartooned is an all-new way to experience the classic sci-fi real-time strategy game.

A Complete Reimagining
The magic doesn’t end with cartoon units—all the structures, maps, and menus of StarCraft: Remastered, including all campaign missions, have been transformed! Whether you’re returning to the Koprulu Sector or visiting for the first time, StarCraft: Cartooned is an all-new way to experience the classic sci-fi real-time strategy game.

Full Online Compatibility
Bring the Cartooned mayhem online! Group up with other players for your favorite custom games, or take on opponents head-to-head in the competitive ladder. You can play with anyone, even if they don’t own StarCraft: Cartooned!
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Uragun Early Access in October

Polish developer Kool2Play Inc Studio announces Early Access to Uragun will come to Early Access on Steam on October 17th, offering a top-down shooter where they player pilots a mech to combat what's described as unique AI opponents. Following testing and further development the game is expected to have a full release in Q1 of next year. Here's a gameplay demo trailer, and this video offers the latest look at the game in the testing of a gravity gun prototype. Here's word:
Kool2Play Inc Studio from Warsaw has announced today that its upcoming game, Uragun, will be available in Steam Early Access from 17th October 2019. This top-shooter with strong tactical elements will allow players to pilot a mech fighting off swarms of drones controlled by an unique AI, which will provide an appropriate level of challenge for all of the genre’s fans. Early Access period will allow developers to implement additional gameplay improvements and get feedback from players. The game is scheduled for a Q1 2020 launch.

Uragun is a top-down mecha shooter, where the player will face AI-controlled machines that have turned against humanity. Players will face swarms of machines in 5 environments based on topography and infrastructure of real-life cities, such as Warsaw, New York, Paris, Berlin, Moscow or Barcelona. Enemies will demonstrate complex and well-coordinated behavior patterns thanks to being controlled by an unique AI, not rigid scripts. Developers are promising very wide range of enemies, each of them using an unique tactic based on its skills and weaponry, and also modify their behavior to make use of changing environment.

“Uragun is an innovative top-down shooter game. It brings together the atmosphere of cult classic Syndicate with the dynamic combat of Crimsonland and tactical elements of Helldivers. The enemies are much more than mindless hordes. They change with passing time and adapt to the players strategies. The action is set among buildings and streets adapted from the topography of real cities and, as we know, fighting in such environment bringmores many tactical challenges” – says Jacek Wesołowski, Lead Designer of Uragun, who has experience in working on well-received Bulletstorm, among others.
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GRID Gameplay Trailer

A new Race For Glory Trailer for GRID shows off some hard-driving action in the first look at gameplay from the next installment in this racing sequel. As was recently announced the game is now expected on October 11th for Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Stadia. Here's what we're seeing here:
The action builds as the chasing pack bears down on the leaders to display some new race locations. From the heat of the Havana streets to the track circuit of Brands Hatch, the Race for Glory trailer showcases the exciting, unpredictable, and dramatic racing experience players will have when they take the wheel this October. The stunning visuals of San Francisco and Zhejiang Circuit insert the player at the heart of the action and give a true sense of speed, as they look for the smallest window of opportunity to take the lead either by conventional means or by slamming their rival into a wall.

The race culminates with the Pontiac Firebird Modified and Chevrolet Camaro SSX Concept going head-to-head on the final corners and long straight of San Francisco. One mistake could be the difference between the sweet taste of victory or the bitter regret of what might have been. Played out to the backdrop of the anthemic ‘The Light’ by Sophie and the Giants, the trailer demonstrates both the risks and the rewards of pushing some of the most iconic racing cars to their absolute limits.
Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We're making progress on moving into our new home as we continue to unpack what seems like an endless stream of boxes. It's actually coming to the point where the empty boxes and packing materials are taking up more space than the ones we haven't gotten to yet. This is going to require hauling them off to the dump for recycling, which could be an adventure on its own, since we don't own a truck or SUV that can easily handle such a load. I'll find out in a little bit as I'm about to head out and see how much cardboard can be packed into a car. Wish me luck!

R.I.P.: Emmy-winning actor Rip Torn has died at the age of 88.
R.I.P.: From Nazis to hippies: End of the road for Volkswagen Beetle.

Boxy Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: This levitating turntable plays your records in mid-air.
Science: Sean Parker is nerding out on cancer research. And he’s doing it in style. Thanks Digg.
Chinese air pollution dimmed sunlight enough to impact solar panels.
Images: 35 Adorable Photos Of Harvest Mice Living Their Tiny Lives. Thanks Cutter.
Media: The Age of Stupid (10th Anniversary Mini-Sequel). Thanks Simon.
Ninja DESTROYS Fortnite Players (Secret Pro Gamer) - React.
Honest Trailers - Game of Thrones Vol 3.
Auctions: Marvel is auctioning props from its Netflix shows.
Follow-up: The Awesome Bowling Robot Is Surely Fake. Here's How to Tell.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Savage Chickens.