Archived News:

Thursday, Aug 15, 2019

Play Galactic Civilizations III Free This Weekend

Stardock is offering an extended free weekend for Galactic Civilizations III on Steam, where you can play the 4X strategy game between now and Monday without taking out your wallet. If you decide you want to play on after that, the game is on sale with an 84% discount, and there are also lesser discounts to be had on a couple of GalCiv3 bundles. Here's the pitch:
Galactic Civilizations III is a 4X space strategy game set in the 23rd century. Humans and aliens compete against each other for domination of the galaxy through war, cultural hegemony, diplomacy, and more. Players can customize their game experience right down to every minute detail: galaxy size, opponent factions, victory conditions, AI difficulty level, and frequency of galactic events and anomalies.

"We've always prided ourselves on making conquest just one aspect of several entertaining routes to victory in GalCiv," said Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock. "For example, players can wage multi-decade cold wars for the hearts and minds of neutral planets, or expand their culture's reach to the point where each others' colonies are the soft-power battleground. Through a combination of shrewd diplomacy and expanding cultural influence, players can even conquer the galaxy without ever firing a single shot."

Another popular feature of Galactic Civilizations III is the ability to design amazing ships and civilizations. There are thousands of ships and civilizations that have been shared and downloaded via the Steam workshop over the years, leaving players with nearly limitless options for game customization.

Get Minion Masters - Might of the Slither Lords for Free

Steam now offers the release of Minion Masters - Might of the Slither Lords, a new DLC pack for Minion Masters. While this "fast-paced strategic minion brawler" is free-to-play, the DLC is a premium item. But they are offering it for free during a limited time promotion that ends on August 19th. Here's what the DLC contains:
Might of the Slither Lords is the Faction Box for starting or expanding your Slither faction collection. This is a great +300% value bundle of Slither cards, including the cunning Legendary Musketeer and 2 exclusive Slither cosmetics.

Includes

  • 3x Musketeer (Legendary)
  • 5x Harbinger (Supreme)
  • 20x Rabid Prowler
  • 40x Daggerfall
  • 40x Slitherbound
  • 5x Power Tokens (Get 5 extra random surprises)
  • 1x exclusive Legendary Slither Avatar - Animated!
  • 1x exclusive Legendary Slither Emote - Animated!

Anthem Lead Ben Irving Leaving BioWare

Ben Irving tweets that he is departing from BioWare after eight years with the company. Ben was lead producer on Anthem, and he includes some kind words to the community for the mech shooter, despite all the bumps along the way:
(1/3) After 8 amazing years at BioWare I have made the decision to move on and have accepted an exciting opportunity at another gaming company. Since the first time I played Baldurs Gate many many years ago, BioWare was the dream place I always wanted to work.

(2/3) I will forever be grateful to all the people who gave me the chance to work on great products with amazing people. I believe Anthem has a bright future - there is a great team working on it and I look forward to following its progress (and playing it!) from the sidelines.

(3/3) I have really enjoyed interacting with the Anthem community - Streams, Twitter and Reddit. Through the good times and the tough times. You all are in great hands with @Darokaz and @UNTDrew (and have been for some time now). I wish nothing but the best for all of you. Ben.

Epic Games Store Adds Features

Epic Games announces some new features being rolled out for the fledgling Epic Games Store. This includes Cloud Saves, Humble Bundle keyless integration, and a facelift for product pages. They offer a list of games that now support cloud saves, and explain why cloud saves are not yet universally available: "We’re working with the developers of other released games to test cloud saves, and will be enabling more games over time. Upcoming games that support Cloud Saves will have them enabled at launch!" They also outline plans for future changes:
What’s Next?

  •  We rolled out For Honor with an improved installation experience, reducing the total time to install and the amount of disk space required. We’ll be looking to update our existing Ubisoft titles to use this new tech next.
  • Some of you have already noticed that we’ve been rolling out new Epic-hosted videos on store pages. This provides the ability for better curation when you’re browsing the store, as well as giving more control to developers (i.e. the type of content they show for their games).
  • We’re in the final stages of rolling out special patch optimization for developers. The optimization reduces patch download sizes significantly, saving you time when updating games on the Epic Games store and allowing you to hop back into the games you enjoy.
  • For our next steps, we’ll be finishing our QA passes and polishing our documentation for our developers as we get it into their hands. For those interested, we’ll be writing a technical blog on how this works, so keep an eye out.
  • A new look and design are coming to your game libraries. The first update in this process will include a “list view” which will display more of your game library on screen at once. You will be able to sort, filter and access games in your library quicker and easier. We want to make navigating to the games you want to play seamless.
  • Our new playtime tracking feature is also right around the corner! This feature is a critical piece for self-service refunds. This gives you the ability to precisely track playtime on the games you own and that’s important because it helps you determine when you’re eligible to submit for a refund on new game purchases.

Ion Fury Released

Ion Fury is out of Early Access, offering a first-person shooter for Windows and Linux. And while many games claim to be old school, this one backs that up by utilizing the Build Engine, which powered vintage classics like Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and Shadow Warrior. You may recall this under its announced title of Ion Maiden, which was recently changed after the band Iron Maiden's lawyers went all Metallica on 3D Realms. The launch trailer shows off this throwback action, and you can pick up a copy through the Ion Fury Website. You want more details? Come get some:
Despite permanent martial law, the crime-riddled Neo D.C. is under attack: Dr. Jadus Heskel and his army of cyborg cultists leave destruction in their wake. Corporal Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, leader of the Global Defense Force, stops to get sloshed at a nightclub when an explosion interrupts her mid-drink. Equal parts furious and foul-mouthed, Shelly sets out to take Heskel down.

Sprint through a cyberpunk city full of Heskel’s horrific creations and eradicate everyone and everything in Shelly’s way. Wield her ever-faithful 18-round triple-barreled revolver, Loverboy, and duck and weave through the streets. Paint the city red with dual fire-spitting Penetrator submachine guns, perform fancy trick shots with Bowling Bombs, wreak havoc with the all-powerful Ion Bow, or level the block with Clusterpucks.

Each open level hides secrets galore, so in between reducing foes to gibs n’ gore, search for ammo, deadly new armaments and extra armor to make the next fight just a little bit easier. Labyrinthine levels encourage exploration so keep an open eye while searching for that next keycard, and enjoy glorious pixelated goodness.

Built to be a retro shooter instead of simply emulating what made them great, Ion Fury is fueled by the same Build engine that powered classics including Duke Nukem 3D, Bloodand Shadow Warrior. Ion Fury delivers fast-paced action fused with modern touches such as headshots, auto-saves, modern physics, and widescreen support. Instagibbed cyber-cultists have never looked so satisfyingly...splashy.

In addition to the campaign, Ion Fury comes with Mapster32, an updated and modernized version of the integrated level editor offered with Duke Nukem 3D back in the day. Forge anything ranging from kill-rooms with unlimited ammo to twisting hallways filled with secrets. Have a favorite map from the Duke and Shadow Warrior days? Load it right up inIon Fury and enjoy the modern additions introduced by Voidpoint. Post levels directly on Steam Workshop so everyone can enjoy them.
Continue here to read the full story.

Shortest Trip to Earth Lands

Today marks the official launch of Shortest Trip to Earth, and the Roguelike sci-fi game is now out of Early Access on GOG.com and Steam. Here's last week's Launch Trailer, and this post has details on the release as well as a version 1.0 change log. Here's word on the game, as well as a warning on an upcoming price increase you can avoid if you act quickly:
Get ready to grab the controls and prepare for take off, as Shortest Trip to Earth has exited Early Access and made a full release on Steam! In the final version of the game, you can check out never-before-seen sectors, fly new ships and fight challenging enemies, while exploring the vast universe in the game on your way back to Earth.

We are humbled to release our game after it has been critically acclaimed by press and rated as excellent by the community. After more than 5 years of continuous development, Shortest Trip to Earth is ready to meet the best space survivors of our little Earth - and of course kill them, being a rogue-like.

We have previously announced that Shortest Trip to Earth is going to receive a price increase at the end of its Early Access period. However, the European Commission has created a law that forbids (for a period of 30 days) raising a price and then offering a discount at the same time. Bit of a catch 22 isn’t it! However: we find it more important to offer a discount at launch to the community, so for the week of launch we will be offering a 15% discount while keeping the price as is.

You might want to consider jumping on the bandwagon quickly though, since after the week of launch we do intend to raise the price (to $ 24,99), again, as was always the plan.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rogue Singularity Forms

Rogue Singularity is now available on Steam, offering an action game for Windows, macOS, and Linux where you play as a robot contending with a black hole that's gone rogue (thanks Acleacius). This Launch Trailer shows off the game's platforming action, which is described thusly: "A wandering black hole – a rogue singularity, in fact – has crashed into your star system, turning countless worlds into floating debris. You control a plucky little robot, traversing the remnants of these worlds while dodging hazards, escaping hostile creatures, and solving devious puzzles. Every level is procedurally generated, so you will never play the same game twice." Here's more:
Rogue Singularity takes players back to the golden age of third-person precision platformers, ideal for speedrunning.

Your first job is simply to survive. Each level is packed with hazards, and simply getting from one end to the other with your robot in one piece will be a challenge. As your skills grow, you will be challenged not not only survive, but to reach the end of the level in the fastest possible time. Tackle a level that has been shared through the online community, and you will even be able to race against the ghost of the fastest player.

No level will be the same twice. Each location in Rogue Singularity is procedurally generated for ­infinite replayability, but any level you successfully complete is shared with the rest of the community. Master the level, share it, and you’ll set the pace for others to strive for as they jostle for the #1 spot on the leaderboard.

There are also weekly challenges which allow you only one chance to make it to the end safely and get your time on the leaderboard. Will you be the fastest survivor?
Continue here to read the full story.

Misadventures of Laura Silver- Chapter I

Misadventures of Laura Silver- Chapter I is now available on Steam, offering a mystery game/visual novel for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The game takes place in 1935, when there was still a country called Czechoslovakia, where it is set. Here's a Gameplay Trailer and here's a bit more on the game:
Need more stress in your life? Meet Laura Silver, a paranoid and insomniac detective tasked with researching Slavic mythology. Do you know anything about the Vodnik? Neither does she. Unfortunately, her incompetence won't be your biggest problem in Czechoslovakia.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The Two Generals’ Problem.

Hyper Light Drifter & Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden Free on Epic Games Store

The Epic Games Store now offers this week's new free offerings. Everyone can now head over and pick up a free copy of Hyper Light Drifter and Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden for keeps. They also reveal next week's freebie, saying as of August 22nd they will be giving away Fez. But we get ahead of ourselves. Here's a refresher on this week's new free games:
Hyper Light Drifter
Echoes of a dark and violent past resonate throughout a savage land, steeped in treasure and blood. Hyper Light Drifter is an action adventure RPG in the vein of the best 16­bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
Mankind has been eradicated by climate change, nuclear war, and pandemics. Will your team of mutants survive the Zone? Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a tactical adventure game combining turn-based combat with real-time exploration, story, stealth, and strategy.

New Metro Game in the Works

During its investor conference call following their latest financials, THQ Nordic revealed they are working on the next game in the Metro series of first-person shooters (thanks DSOGaming). Additionally, Dmitry Glukhovsky, author of the source novels, posted to Instagram to confirm the news, and say that he is working on the game's story. To illustrate the point, he includes an image of the Metro Exodus box art with "T.B.C." hand scrawled across the bottom.

Cliff Bleszinski Comeback?

A couple of tweets from Cliff Bleszinski suggest the Unreal, Gears of War, and Lawbreakers designer may be rethinking his retirement from the game industry. After the failure of Lawbreakers and Radical Heights led to the closure of Boss Key Studios, Cliff stated he is "NEVER making another game." In subsequent exchanges in the twitter thread he seems to agree with suggestions that if he returns to development he start small, rather than build a studio. But the conversation started with a pair of new tweets that call the permanence of his retirement into question:
UGH guys I kinda have a game idea and it won't get out of my head.

I thought I was truly done.

But then, stupid brain shows up.

UGH.

AND IT'S NOT A F*CKING BATTLE ROYALE

Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break Announced

Gunter gleiben glauchen globen! Publisher Modus Games and developers ACE Team and Giant Monkey Robot announce Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break, a new installment in the series they describe as a "comedic tower defense racer." They are showing the game off next week at Gamescom and plan on bringing it to Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch early next year. They accompany the news with a Monty Python-inspired Announcement Trailer and offer some initial details:
A brilliant blend of tower defense strategy and bursts of arcade action, Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break sees opponents rolling massive boulders toward each other’s castles while building defenses to protect their own. For the first time in the smash hit series, commanders can now design their own stages through an intuitive in-game level editor and share them with the community. With nearly limitless possibilities for original works along with local head-to-head and online four-player multiplayer support, Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break provides an avalanche of fun for creators and players alike.

Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break is infused with a Monty Python-esque style of humor, making for unpredictable and hilarious moments. The game’s story mode plows through inventive reinterpretations of history with cameos from key figures like Caesar and Moctezuma, but don’t be too surprised when larger-than-life presences like Krampus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster show up as well.

Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break switches its chaotic mix of fun up with over 20 selectable stones to roll across six game modes; whether its focusing on defense in the against-all-odds rush of Boulder Avalanche or honing gracefulness in the unforgiving Humpty-Dumpty Mode, there’s a mountain of content awaiting players.
Continue here to read the full story.

Spelunky 2 Delayed

Derek Yu tweets that the release of Spelunky 2 is being delayed until next year (thanks Game Informer). Word is Mossmouth is close to completing the Roguelike platformer sequel, but not close enough to get it out the door this year:
Hey, Spelunky fans! Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to get to release Spelunky 2 this year. Development is still going well and we're not far off target, but the density and detail of the game is demanding more time.

Thank you for your patience.

Nauticrawl: 20,000 Atmospheres Next Month

Publisher Armor Games and developer Andrea Interguglielmi announce Nauticrawl: 20,000 Atmospheres will arrive on Steam on September 16th, offering what they enigmatically call an "enigmatic" adventure. A new trailer accompanies the news, showing off the game's "oppressive atmosphere, and the complex and mysterious vehicle in which the game unfolds." Here's more on what to expect:
Attempting to escape the terrifying sentinels on a distant planet, players will need to learn how to pilot a Nauticrawl - a giant metal vehicle, designed only to be used by the ruling elites. With buttons, levers and displays abound, it will take perseverance, experimentation, and a whole lot of ingenuity to make it off this wretched rock.

With every failure meaning the start of a new run, Nauticrawl is certainly a challenging experience. But as players learn their way around the vehicle's dashboard, master the controls and figure out the displays, they will begin to uncover an engaging science-fiction story as they eke their way toward salvation.

Nauticrawl creator Andrea Interguglielmi said: "Nauticrawl was my playground as a kid, piloting made-up submarines and huge robots. It's a mix of my teenage gaming years, spent in space combat simulators and text adventures. The outcome is an experience that talks straight to our curiosity, our desire to pull all the levers and explore worlds that can't be seen, only imagined."
Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs Core i9 9900K CPU on Eurogamer.net.
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II vs. Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones on Techgage.
  • Corsair iCUE 465X Mid-Tower Chassis on TweakTown.
  • PowerColor 5700 RED DEVIL Graphics Card on Guru3D.
  • PowerColor Radeon RX 5700 XT Red Devil Graphics Card on TechPowerUp.
  • RIOTORO CR1288TG Full Tower Case on Nikk Tech.

Out of the Blue

I'm working on cultivating a friendship with the ducks that waddle past my office. I previously tried to feed them some cut-up grapes, but despite what Google says about them liking these, they did not seem to (they'd pick them up and spit them out). Bread is the obvious choice, but is said to be bad for them, so that's out. Based on the advice of a neighbor, yesterday I tried offering oatmeal, something else that is said to be good duck food. This worked like a charm, and a pair of female ducks happily pecked up all of it I tossed on the grass for them. Today I tried to befriend a pair of males, but they were far less impressed. I think they would probably like the oatmeal well enough, but they seemed much more suspicious of my motives, so I just let them be. So I'm batting .500 with the oatmeal so far. The number one suggestion for what to feed them is corn, so I will pick some up and see how I do with that.

Corny Links: Thanks Ant.
Stories: People are still drinking bleach—and vomiting and pooping their guts out. Darwin juice. Thanks RedEye9.
Kremlin lauds 'heroes' who landed plane in cornfield after gull strike.
Science: What Makes a Red Sky at Night (and at Morning). XKCD! Thanks j.c.f.
Media: Gamers Vs. Mario Maker Levels Designed By Kids.
People who do awkward animal voices in public. That would be me.
Dog Statues.
Temper tantrum. U mad bro?
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