Archived News:

Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Rockstar Launches Game Launcher with GTA: San Andreas Giveaway

If you've been bemoaning the lack of game launchers on your PC, Rockstar has you covered, as they announce the release of the Rockstar Games Launcher, offering cloud saves, game purchases, and automatic updates along with the ability to launch your Rockstar game collection. And if you don't have a Rockstar game collection, they've got you covered, as they are kicking this off by offering Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Windows for free for a limited time through the launcher. Here are the details:
The Rockstar Games Launcher is a new Windows desktop application that allows you to quickly and easily access your Rockstar Games PC collection in a single place, across both digital and disc-based titles including ones purchased from various other digital stores. You can also use the Launcher to shop for new Rockstar Games PC titles to add to your collection.

The Rockstar Games Launcher comes with a host of features including the addition of cloud save functionality to all supported titles, the ability to keep your Rockstar Games PC library updated automatically, and ways to follow all the latest Rockstar Games news from directly inside the Launcher.

For a limited time, install the Rockstar Games Launcher and claim a free copy of the classic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on PC within the Rockstar Games Launcher, to permanently add it to your Social Club account’s library. For more details, visit https://support.rockstargames.com

The Rockstar Games Launcher is available for download now here: https://socialclub.rockstargames.com/rockstar-games-launcher

Select PC game titles are not currently supported. Visit https://support.rockstargames.com for more info.

New Steam Library Beta

Valve announces the promised launch of the beta version of the New Steam Library (shhhhhh!), offering the chance to opt in and check out what's new. This announcement from a couple of weeks ago has an outline of the game plan. Here's word:
Untapped potential already in your library
The new Steam library was built with the belief that our libraries are valuable to us – for some customers, they contain more than fifteen years of games. From your absolute favorite AAA title that all your friends are playing, to that solo indie art project that only you seem to love, your Steam library represents your gaming history.

But, a good library shouldn't just be dusty shelves, it has to be a fun place to explore and find whatever it is that you're looking for. Whether you want to keep up to date about what's happening with your games, find a game to play with your friends, or explore what's happening in your game's community, your library should support you.

Today we want to introduce you to some of the biggest new library features and explain how they’re going help do just that.

A brand new way to look at things
The first thing you'll probably notice is that we're launching a gorgeous new landing page for your library. The new library home gives you quick access to game updates, recently played games, friends activity and your collections.

Stay connected with your games and friends
We're making it easier for you to stay on top of the changes happening to your games and who is playing what. One of things we know you love about Steam is being able to engage directly with your games as they evolve over time. The new library makes it simple to see not just if a game has been updated but, with the new events feature, what that update is and why you should boot it up and give it a shot.
Continue here to read the full story.

Dota 2 Matchmaking Update - Ranked Fee Under Consideration

The Dota 2 Blog offers details on a ranked matchmaking update for the new season for Valve's MOBA. This covers a lot of territory, including Role Symmetry, a Draft Role Report, a connection of Core and Support Ranks, new player ban waves, thoughts on smurf accounts, and more. They have an interesting thought on possibly adding an access fee to ranked play to help combat smurfing (creating a new account and stomping newbs). Here's that:
Smurfs: Dota 2 being a free-to-play game introduces various matchmaking related challenges. One option we have thought about is having Ranked access have a one time entry cost, and that access can be lost for players who regularly ruin games. We may also grandfather in users that we have enough data on, but we haven’t gone too deep in assessing the details here. We aren’t sure if we need this as a solution yet either, we hope that other solutions can have a good effect at improving the matchmaking ecosystem.

BioWare's Anthem Game Plan

With the end of Anthem Cataclysm nearing, BioWare offers a new update with their plans for their multiplayer action/RPG. Chad, the game's Head of Live Service, admits the game needs more work, an reiterates BioWare's commitment to make it a "great game." He explains their next steps:
Those of you in our player community that played on our Public Test Server gave us valuable feedback from your play that we used to influence our changes to the game. PTS is an invaluable tool we will leverage for future updates with Anthem. Some of the changes made to the Cataclysm based on your input were:

  • Combat balancing improvements
  • Adjustments for minor-to-major crystal economy
  • Additional types of reward crates, providing more player choice
  • UX tips in load screens to better explain Cataclysm mechanics
  • Final Score Banners to show how much score was gained from playing on higher difficulties

So what’s next for Anthem?
We hear your concerns on core issues in Anthem and are acting on it. Those systems require a more thorough review and re-working versus quick fixes. We’ve got a team working on that now, and early results are promising.

In order to address these long-range plans, we are moving away from the Acts structure for updates. Instead, we have additional seasonal updates planned for this year that we think players will enjoy. These events will deliver challenges and chases similar to what you’ve seen, and are built around some fun themes we’re bringing to the game.

Rune II Open Beta Preloads

promised deathmatch open beta for Rune II gets underway on Friday. Human Head has released a very short Open Beta Teaser Trailer and say that preloads of the beta are now underway on the Epic Games Store. They also provide the details on exactly when the beta will be running:
With the November 12 release date of RUNE II approaching, warriors itching for some bloody Viking action can join the RUNE II Deathmatch Beta starting this Friday! Human Head Studios announced today the playtest times for the Deathmatch Beta that starts on September 20 and runs through September 22. Gamers will be able to access the Deathmatch Beta by visiting the RUNE II EGS store page and installing the demo for free.

Both Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes can be accessed in the Beta session during the following times (subject to change):

  • Friday (9/20): 4:00PM – 10:00PM EDT
  • Saturday (9/21): 12:00PM – 6:00PM EDT
  • Sunday (9/22): 8:00AM – 4:00PM EDT

Continue here to read the full story.

League of Legends Turning 10

The League of Legends Website invites everyone to join in a celebration next month of the 10th anniversary of the launch of Riot's MOBA. Word is after all this time the game still enjoys incredible success with 8 million daily users:
This year, we're celebrating the ten year anniversary of League of Legends! Join us on October 15th, 2019 as we kick things off with livestreams and events, including a 10th Anniversary Edition of Riot Pls that starts at 6:00pm PST.

In the 10th Anniversary Edition Riot Pls, we'll take a look back at our favorite League moments and share a glimpse of the future, including a first look at this year's preseason changes and TFT's next big content update.

Every day we see about 8 million peak concurrent players in League.* That makes League the biggest PC game in the world—it's even bigger than the top ten games on Steam combined. Together, we’ve built a thriving community around the world, and we want to show our appreciation for all of you. If you're not able to catch the celebration on October 15th, don't worry. We'll rebroadcast the livestream throughout the following day.

We think this is the perfect time to set the stage for the next ten years by modernizing the official League of Legends logo. Check out the new look above!

Remember to save the date and join us on October 15th, 2019 with your party hats and golden spatulas ready. See you soon!

*Calculated as League's average daily PCU (peak concurrent users) for all Riot, Tencent, and Garena regions during the month of August

Overwatch Launches Bastion's Brick Challenge

The Overwatch Website has details on Bastion's Brick Challenge, a new LEGO-themed event that's now underway in the multiplayer shooter. This offers the chance to earn a skin, icons, and sprays by both playing and watching games. Here's a trailer, and here's a bit:
Build your very own limited-time Brick Bastion skin by winning Overwatch® games through September 30! Plus, watch participating Overwatch streams on Twitch to unlock delightful brick-themed sprays and icons.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rebel Cops Released

Rebel Cops is now available for PC and consoles, offering a tactical stealthy spin-off for the This Is the Police series. The Windows, macOS, and Linux editions can be picked up on GOG.com and Steam. Here is the Release Trailer, and here's a description of the game:
Rebel Cops is a turn-based tactics stealth game set in the This Is the Police universe. In Rebel Cops, you control a squad of ex-police officers united by a desire to take down their town’s new criminal overlord. The spin-off will focus on turn-based stealth gameplay, with unforgiving combat and vast levels to explore. Rebel Cops will be arriving on September 17 to PC, Xbox® One, PlayStation® 4 and Nintendo Switch™.

Key Features

  • Fight the corrupt authority: After criminal mastermind Viktor Zuev took over the town of Ripton, you and your fellow police officers have gone rogue to do what must be done. Perform tactical turn-based missions to undermine Zuev’s allies and bring the power back to the people.
  • No hitpoints, no forgiveness: You are outmanned and outgunned. Use stealth tactics and cover to approach the enemy quietly and take them down before they can raise any alarms. There are no health bars in Rebel Cops! Once shot, your officers will bleed out unless you act fast to save them.
  • Explore, loot, and watch your back: Rebel Cops features a large number of scenarios, from compact operations to big, open-ended locations to explore. Build up your street cred in Ripton by helping out local folks in side missions and get rewarded for exploring the levels thoroughly.
  • Take the high moral road – or not: Justice must be served, but it’s up to you to choose how that happens. Will you play by Zuev’s merciless rules? Will you help the desperate townspeople, even if it means putting your operation at risk? In Rebel Cops, your reputation will affect your team’s morale and even the merchants’ prices.

Continue here to read the full story.

Devil's Hunt Released

Devil's Hunt is now available for Windows on GOG.com and Steam, while the console versions of Layopi Games' action/adventure to follow early next year. Here's the Launch Trailer, and here's word:
Based on the ‘Equilibrium’ novel series and inspired by many hack ‘n slash greats, Devil’s Hunt positions you as the devil’s executioner, Desmond, who clings to his humanity while demonic powers slowly are taking over. Pitted in the middle of an ethereal conflict, will Desmond find his part to play?

Devil’s Hunt is available now for 34.99 USD / 29.99 EUR on Steam and GOG with a 10% discount for the initial launch week.

What to know about Devil’s Hunt:

  • Fast-paced combat - Punch, slash, and kick your way through armies of demons and angels in Devil’s Hunt hack ‘n slash battle over earth.
  • Change forms – Unleash your inner demon as Desmond by flipping between his human and hell-built form. Choose between 3 different fighting schools to conquer each challenge your way!
  • Story based on ‘Equilibrium’ – Devil’s Hunt is based on the polish novel series and its story is told through cinematic cutscenes.
  • Explore the depths of hell - Devil’s Hunt takes Desmond to many locations, including hell itself. Venture into rich environments like Miami, and Jerusalem.

Continue here to read the full story.

Deadliest Catch: The Game Early Access in November

Publisher Ultimate Games and developer Moonlit announce that Deadliest Catch: The Game will enter Early Access on Steam on November 14th. Though you'd imagine they are swimming in that Discovery Channel money, they also announce they have kicked off a Kickstarter, casting a net for more funding. This announcement on Steam hopes to instill a sense of urgency about this with some incentives:
As we told you last time, there are many rewards you can choose from. The sooner you decide to pledge, the better for you - our Early Crab option is the cheapest way to get hold of the demo version right now (we will send it to you within 24 hours!), the full version upon the release and some additional cool stuff too! And if you’re really into Deadliest Catch, in the first 72 hours you can get the Pioneer pledge - a collector’s edition at a great price. There are also some exclusive, limited rewards like The Legend of The Bering Sea, that will allow you to really leave a mark on the final version of the game - and one that everyone can see too! So be quick, before other captains snatch that title for themselves!

In any case, you will do us a great favor if you share the info about the campaign with your friends and folks - especially if you share the love for the Deadliest Catch series with them!

One Piece World Seeker Extra Episode 2: Where Justice Lies This Week

BANDAI NAMCO announces a September 20th release date for Extra Episode 2: Where Justice Lies, new DLC for One Piece World Seeker. A Release Date Trailer shows this off what this adds to the anime action/adventure, and here's the news:
The new DLC gives fans the opportunity to play as Sabo as he attempts to stop the World Government from excavating Dyna Stones, dangerous weapons of mass destruction, from Prion Island. Sabo gives players new abilities and attacks to use against the Navy forces as well as new missions and a new location – the Mirror World. One Piece World Seeker Extra Episode 2: Where Justice Lies will be available to download from the PlayStation Store, the Xbox Games Store, and STEAM on Friday, September 20th for $9.99. It is also part of the One Piece World Seeker Episode Pass, available to purchase for $29.99.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Interviews

Into the Black

We've gotten some reports of a malware warning from Malware Bytes users. Sorry about that. I'll disable the ad codes here until we can figure out what's going on.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Livestream

A livestream is underway on Twitch where Infinity Ward is discussing the ongoing beta testing of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. PC players will be able to join in on the testing on Thursday if they've preordered the game and the Windows beta will be open to all starting Saturday, so this is a chance to hear what to expect. For more, there's also a post on the Activision Games Blog on the crossplay beta and post release plans. Word is that sweet Sony cash will keep their PS4 favoritism firmly in place:
Following the launch of Modern Warfare next month, the team has worked to ensure that content will be released in a way that enables all players to continue to seamlessly play together. Most Post-launch gameplay content, including new multiplayer maps, new multiplayer modes, special ops missions and more will release simultaneously across all platforms. We look forward to further detailing how post-launch content plans will operate prior to Modern Warfare’s launch on October 25th.

In addition, Call of Duty is excited to continue its partnership with PlayStation, including last weekend’s PS4 debut of the Modern Warfare Open Beta as well as the recent PS4 exclusive 2v2 Alpha. But the best is yet to come. For the very first time in our partnership with PlayStation, PS4 players will have an exciting Day 1 advantage. More details on how Call of Duty will continue to support PlayStation as the best place to play Modern Warfare will be rolled out soon.

GWENT Iron Judgment Next Month

GOG.com announces Iron Judgment will be rendered on October 2, offering the new expansion for GWENT: The Witcher Card Game. Here's word on your chance to be king of the north: "The North is on the rise and Radovid is back to bring justice to his enemies. Stand by his side or defy royal authority — whichever you choose, get ready for some of the fiercest battles in GWENT’s history." There's more on the GWENT website along with a trailer. Here's a bit:
NEW WAYS TO WAGE WAR
Utilize new tactics to get an advantage on the battlefield, reinforce your decks with elite warriors from all 6 factions, including 21 neutral cards. Iron Judgment adds over 80 new cards to GWENT as new (and returning!) mechanics:

Armor
Protects a unit from damage. This value doesn't count towards your score and/or the unit’s power

Many units from Iron Judgment expansion have armor, so finding a weak spot in enemies’ defenses can be a challenge. That’s when Stunning Blow comes in handy!

Stunning Blow

Exposed
Trigger this ability whenever this unit loses its Armor

When units lose their Armor unpredictable things can happen - sometimes it will make them stronger (or angrier), but sometimes that would be their utter doom, like in the case of Greater Brothers.
Continue here to read the full story.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Insider Program Signups

Insider Program Sign Ups for Microsoft Flight Simulator are now underway, as the testing program for the next installment in the series seems to be coming a little later than called for in the original flight plan (thanks Rock Paper Shotgun). Here's the Insider Program FAQ and here's a summary:
Do you share our passion for flight? Are you interested in working directly with us to deliver the next generation of Microsoft Flight Simulator? The Insider Program is for you! Join your fellow aviation enthusiasts to get exclusive behind-the-scenes updates from developers and partners, gain access to preview builds, and advanced content updates before the general public. Best of all, you’ll become part of the Microsoft Flight Simulator team responsible for providing feedback and recommendations critical to helping deliver the very best experience! You, matter.

Borderlands 3 Save Game Issue Hotfix

The Epic Games Support Center has word that a hotfix is now available to address a bug that could cause the loss of saved game progress in Borderlands 3. At the same time they clarify how to proceed if the system warns you of a conflict between local and cloud saved games for users playing the action/RPG sequel on more than one system. Polygon has a statement on this from 2K Games about how seriously they are taking this: "We understand just how frustrating this situation is for those who have been affected, so we’re working with our partners at Epic to monitor the situation and ensure the issue gets fully resolved," a 2K representative told Polygon. "We’re listening closely to our community and players, and will continue to do all we can to ensure the best experience possible for everyone." Here's Epic's update on the topic:
How do I handle Cloud Save conflicts?
If you are playing games with Cloud Saves on more than one device through the Epic Games Launcher, you may run into Cloud Save conflicts. This is usually because you have played the game offline on one machine.

If there is a conflict, you will be prompted with the following window:

[snip]

If you see this pop-up, make sure that you select the newer file to avoid losing data. If you select the incorrect one, it may result in lost progress. Any progress lost is not recoverable.

Borderlands 3 issue
We have received reports of an issue with the Cloud Saves feature that can cause some players to lose their save data for Borderlands 3. We have identified the following chain of events that result in this issue:

  • You play on Machine A offline or with Cloud Saves not enabled.
  • You then play on Machine B online, realize your save from machine A has not transferred, and then quit the game.
  • Then, you swap back to play on Machine A online, pulling down the empty profile from Machine B.
  • When this happens, the screen pop-up shown above displays, to help resolve the conflict between the save states. However, we have identified a bug in which that screen is not always appearing.

We have shipped a hotfix that addresses this bug. This screen will help ensure players are able to choose their preferred and correct save states going forward.

Jurassic World Evolution Adds Herbivorous DLC

A new Herbivore Dinosaur Pack for Jurassic World Evolution is now available on Steam, adding three veggiesauruses to the dinosaur theme park game. The Launch Trailer lets us see this new content, which is also now available for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Along with the DLC, Frontier Developments also now offers a free update for the base game that adds the ability to use any island in sandbox mode once it's unlocked. Here are the details:

The Herbivore Dinosaur Pack introduces three new dinosaurs to players’ islands.

  • The Dryosaurus is a forest dweller who relies on speed and dexterity for survival, using its stiff tail as ballast to swiftly change direction while running.
  • The Homalocephale gets its name from the smooth, even shape of her head. It sports a flat, wedge-shaped skull used as a tool for head-butting.
  • The Nigersaurus is one of the smallest Sauropods discovered. It measures 9 meters long and despite its long neck, the Nigersaurus is a grazer, feeding from plants close to the ground and near riverbeds.

Free Update: Also available today, all Jurassic World Evolution players will receive a free game update introducing the ability to use any island in the Sandbox mode, provided the island has already been unlocked through career progression. Players will also be able to use sand variants for all islands in this mode, and further customize their parks.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding

  • Indiecalypse - A dark humor videogame about an indie team by JanduSoft — Kickstarter. "Three misfits team up to design and produce their own indie game, finding themselves in a path of chaos, self-destruction and resentment. But there’s also space for crude humor, pop culture references, gratuitous and non-gratuitous violence... and fear. Fear of the dozens of lawsuits for copyright infringement, obscenity and profanity we’ll have to face if the game is finally published." Here's a Teaser Trailer.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

On more than one occasion over the years the use of R.I.P. to mention a famous person's passing here was questioned, as sometimes there were objections to wishing peace for controversial figures and outright villains. I mentioned this was meant in a more neutral sense, prompting the suggestion of "He's dead, Jim" as an tongue-in-cheek alternative. You may have noticed this changed recently, as it occurred to me that "Obituary" was a simple, straightforward way to list these that would be less objectionable. I don't imagine that wishing R.I.P. to Cokie Roberts would be controversial, but her passing reminded me of my plan to mention this at some point, so there it is. Sympathies to Roberts' friends and family.

Obituary: Legendary journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts dies at 75.

Sympathetic Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Tetromino Slide. Thanks Boing Boing.
Links: GameStop Somehow Selling Used Version Of Game Day After It Comes Out.
Best Places to Live 2019.
Stories: Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson Will Return For Ghostbusters 2020 Movie.
Why chess wrecks the bodies of grandmasters.
Uhh, Part of the Facility Where Russia Stores Smallpox and Ebola Exploded.
Science: Most massive neutron star ever detected strains the limits of physics.
Vineyards Facing An Insect Invasion May Turn To Aliens For Help. Thanks RedEye9.
Media: Human Cannonball Launch Fail @ Calgary Stampede 2011. You had one job, net guy!
It's Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek pronouncing "genre" over and over.
Billy Corgan Rides a Roller Coaster.
Follow-ups: Alex Trebek cancer treatment- Jeopardy host says he is undergoing chemotherapy again after "numbers went sky high."
New models show that the earth is warming faster than first thought.
Brain-eating amoeba kills Texas girl Lily Mae Avant after she went swimming in the Brazos River, family confirms.
The Funnies: Crazy — StBeals.
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