Archived News:

Monday, Sep 30, 2019

New AMD Drivers

AMD Support now offers new version 19.9.3 Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition drivers for AMD graphics cards (thanks DSOGaming). Among other things, these offer official support for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Here are the details:
Support For

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Breakpoint
  • Radeon Image Sharpening
    • Now available on Radeon VII, Radeon RX Vega 64, Radeon RX Vega 56 and Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics products for DirectX®12 and Vulkan® applications.

Fixed Issues

  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice™ may exhibit texture corruption during later parts of the game.
  • Discord™ may experience an application hang on Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products when HW acceleration is enabled.

Known Issues

  • Toggling HDR may cause system instability during gaming when Radeon ReLive is enabled.
  • Display artifacts may be experienced on some 75hz display configurations on Radeon RX 5700 series graphics system configurations.
  • Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 may experience stutter on some system configurations.
  • Open Broadcasting Software™ may experience frame drops or stutter when using AMF encoding on some system configurations.
  • HDMI® overscan and underscan options may be missing from Radeon Settings on AMD Radeon VII system configurations when the primary display is set to 60hz.
  • Stutter may be experienced when Radeon FreeSync is enabled on 240hz refresh displays with Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products.
  • AMD Radeon VII may experience elevated memory clocks at idle or on desktop.

Rebel Inc: Escalation PC Plans

Ndemic Creations announces plans for a PC edition of Rebel Inc: Escalation, the political/military strategic simulation they previously announced for mobile. This is expected to enter Early Access next month on Steam, and this post has details on the PC edition along with an Official Launch Trailer with a look at what to expect. Here's word on this follow up to Plague Inc.:
Rebel Inc: Escalation will launch on Steam Early Access in October 2019. Check out the full list of features at launch below, and take a look at what’s coming to the game in the coming months.

Full Features List

  • 5 different regions - Deploy to different strategic environments - including the gentle farms of ‘Saffron Fields’, the strategic chokepoint of ‘Mountain Pass’, the impenetrable forests of ‘Distant Steppe’, and more
  • 6 unique governors - Whether it’s the ‘Economist’ receiving an entire year’s income in one go, the ‘Smuggler’ thriving on corruption or even the ‘Warlord’ with his personal militia - each governor has radical new abilities to master
  • Hyper-realistic world - Inspired by Afghanistan: Highly detailed and based on extensive research, Rebel Inc: Escalation contains real world development initiatives and an innovative representation of counter insurgency tactics. It has been praised by the World Bank and was even featured at a major international peace conference
  • Intelligent civilian and military AIs - Deadly insurgent attacks put constant pressure on your operation and sophisticated narrative algorithms shaped by your decisions model the needs of local populations.
  • Gorgeous Graphics - Stabilise a beautifully rendered 3D world that responds to your actions and thrives as you provide jobs and services. Drone cams and civilian TV channels bring your operation to life and show you what's happening on the ground.
  • Clear Intelligence - Plan priorities with Intelligence Reports and Combat SITREPs, geek out with loads of new stats and graphs, and analyse your best strategies with end-of-game replays.

Coming during Early Access

  • New Regions - Rebuild a vast dam to prevent catastrophic floods in Azure Dam, dig Insurgents out of cave networks in Black Caves and more…
  • New Governors - Deploy heavy tanks with the Tank Commander, deploy civilian experts to key zones with the Development Director and more...
  • Campaign Mode - Conduct large scale operations across multiple regions. Carefully manage your resources, adapt to unique conditions and upgrade your team and abilities as you seek to counter the growing Insurgent threat.
  • Co-Op and VS Multiplayer - team up to efficiently stabilise the region with friends or compete with them in the shadows to promote your own cause.
  • Custom Scenario Creator - Who said Nation Building was hard! Develop your own custom scenarios with unique strategic challenges and narratives then share them with Steam Workshop.
  • And much more - Including daily challenges, speed runs and Mega-Brutal difficulty. Plus loads of new maps, governors and scenarios in future (free!) updates

Continue here to read the full story.

Arise in December

Arise was announced last week for PlayStation 4, but today Techland publishing reveals this adventure game is also coming to PC and Xbox One. They announce we should expect the release on December 3rd, and that the Windows edition will come on the Epic Games Store. A look at the game is provided in the cinematic Announce Trailer. Here's more on the project:
Techland Publishing has recently announced the beautiful and deeply moving adventure game Arise, developed by Barcelona-based studio Piccolo. Today, the game gets a release date: December 3, 2019.

Arise is an emotional journey through the life of two people where memories come alive and time bends to the player’s will. Each chapter represents a specific turning point in a man’s long life filled with relatable moments of joy and sorrow. Arise’s heartwarming love story will have players experience diverse powerful emotions – both the protagonist’s and their own.

Your journey begins, as our protagonist’s life ends, in limbo. Relive crucial events of his life as you make your way towards the mesmerizing light beckoning from a mountaintop, using your newfound gift of time manipulation to help you overcome many obstacles along the way.
Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Operation Dark Divide Launches

New patch notes on Reddit for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII have the latest changes for the military shooter, which includes the launch of Operation Dark Divide on all platforms. This new content launched last week for the PS4, and though we thought this would be exclusive to that platform for a month, it turns out this restriction was actually only a week. Here are details on the update:
With today’s launch on Xbox One and PC, Operation Dark Divide is now live across all platforms, bringing a ton of new content to Black Ops 4 in our sixth post-launch season:

    • Two Black Ops Pass maps: Lair and Launch
    • New weapon support: Echohawk Dual Bore, AN-94, and VMP
    • New MKII Weapon support: Paladin HB50, VKM 750, and Mozu
    • New Mastercraft support: “Game Over” KAP 45, “Predator” S6 Stingray, “Desecrator” Rampage, and more
    • New limited-time mode: Heavy Metal Heroes
    • New Tank vehicle, Flare Gun, Hellion Salvo Operator, vehicle variants, thrust jumps, unlimited Grapple Gun + more in Heavy Metal Heroes
    • New Wonder Weapon support: Savage Impaler and Winter’s Fury
    • “Tag der Toten”, the final Black Ops 4 Zombies map for Black Ops Pass holders
    • New Perk: Blaze Phase
    • New Epic Elixirs: Power Vacuum and Secret Shopper
    • New weapon support for the Mystery Box and Zombies Armory
    • New 50-Tier Contraband stream including a new Ultra Weapon Bribe
    • New personalization items including new weapons, Mastercrafts, MKII Weapons, Reactive Camos, weapon camos, Blackout characters, Epic outfits, Weapon Charms, Death Effects, Gestures, Jump Packs, and more

Continue here to read the full story.


BANDAI NAMCO announces MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2, saying the fighting game sequel will battle its way onto PC and consoles next year. A Teaser Trailer offers a quick look, while attendees of this weekend's New York Comic Con will get the chance to play the game firsthand. Here are the scant details they're offering at this point:
Double Detroit Smash into a brand new MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE experience as MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2 makes its way to PlayStation®4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC Digital in 2020! In MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2, players can create a team of three fighters from a huge roster of their favorite heroes and villains and face off against rival teams. Be the first to play MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2 this weekend at New York Comic Con 2019 at the Bandai Namco booth, located at booth #515!
Continue here to read the full story.

TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST in November

BANDAI NAMCO announces a November 15th release date for TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST, saying that's when this manga spin-off survival/action game will arrive on Steam and PlayStation 4. They celebrate the news with a new Ghoul Gameplay Trailer along with the following details:
The Tokyo Ghoul:re series’ half-ghoul protagonist, Ken Kaneki, headlines the roster of playable characters in the new trailer for TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST, coming to PlayStation®4 and PCs via STEAM® on November 15, 2019. TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST’s full cast of powerful heroes includes other series stalwarts such as the renowned Gourmet ghoul, Shu Tsukiyama; the Serpent ghoul, Nishiki Nishio; the Manager of the :re coffee shop and wife to Kaneki, Touka Kirishima; the powerful executive, Naki; the Black Rabbit of Goat organization, Ayato Kirishima; and former ghoul investigator, Seidou Takizawa, otherwise known as Owl.

In TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST, a war for survival is being waged between Ghouls and Investigators on the streets of Japan’s largest metropolitan city. Based off the popular horror manga, TOKYO GHOUL:re CALL to EXIST is the first video game of the franchise to come to the West, uniting the characters from TOKYO GHOUL, TOKYO GHOUL √A and the TOKYO GHOUL:re series in an action-packed conflict between man and ghoul with co-op and single-player battles.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

Cuphead Turns Two: Celebrates 5M Sales congratulates Cuphead on yesterday's second anniversary of the release of the hyper-difficult platformer. They celebrate the occasion with a 20% off sale along with a reminder that The Delicious Last Course DLC will be available on when it's released next year). Cuphead is also on sale on Steam as well as consoles, as noted in this tweet from Studio MDHR (thanks GamesRadar+). The tweet also reveals that the game's challenge and charming retro graphics have attracted more than five million customers over the past two years:
Cuphead turns two today, and we're so humbled to announce: it has officially gone five-times platinum!!

Starting now, the game is 20% off on all platforms for a full week. And stay tuned, because we have 5 days of fun and giveaways planned to celebrate 5 million copies sold!

Bobby Prince Sues Valve, Gearbox, and Randy Pitchford

Game music composer Bobby Prince is suing Valve, Gearbox, and Randy Pitchford over unauthorized use of his music in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World, the Duke 3D reissue from a few years ago. Prince, perhaps most famous for his iconic DOOM soundtrack has submitted this complaint (thanks PC Gamer) stating that his 1996 soundtrack was reused without permission. He is demanding a trial by jury and is seeking "maximum statutory damages per infringement or, alternatively, actual damages and Defendants’ profits, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as an injunction prohibiting Defendants from infringing his copyrights." Valve is cited here for because Prince claims they continued to offer the game through Steam after being informed of the problem: "Valve distributed copies of Duke Nukem 3D World Tour. Valve continued doing so after receiving actual notice that Duke Nukem 3D World Tour infringed Mr. Prince’s copyright." Here are details of the complaint against Gearbox and Pitchford:
Before Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing released Duke Nukem 3D World Tour, Mr. Pitchford received a copy of the 1996 license between Apogee and Mr. Prince. He thus knew that Mr. Prince owned the rights to the music and that Apogee had to pay Mr. Prince for its use of the music in prior versions of Duke Nukem games.

Gearbox Software and Gearbox Publishing released Duke Nukem 3D World Tour on October 11, 2016. The game included music composed by Mr. Prince that is covered by his copyright registration and sound effects and edited dialog created by Mr. Prince. The electronic files for the music within Duke Nukem 3D World Tour include text specifically stating that Mr. Prince owns the copyright to the music.

Eventually, Mr. Pitchford directed Steve Gibson, the Head of Publishing at Gearbox Publishing, to make sure that Gearbox was “doing right” by Mr. Prince.

Despite receiving a direct order to “do right” by Mr. Prince, Gearbox proceeded to distribute infringing copies of Duke Nukem 3D World Tour without obtaining a license and without compensating Mr. Prince.

During discussions with Mr. Prince, Mr. Pitchford and Mr. Gibson acknowledged that Mr. Prince owned the music he had composed for Duke Nukem 3D
and that Gearbox used in Duke Nukem 3D World Tour.

Mr. Pitchford adopted the position that Gearbox had no license to use Mr. Prince’s music.

Mr. Gibson acknowledged that Gearbox had no license to use Mr. Prince’s music.

Upon information and belief, Gearbox did nothing to clear the rights to Mr. Prince’s music before incorporating it into Duke Nukem 3D World Tour.

Eventually, it became evident that Gearbox had no intention of paying Mr. Prince for its use of his music. Mr. Prince advised Gearbox that it could either pay him according to the terms of the original license for the music or remove his music from the game. Mr. Pitchford and Gearbox did neither.

Tencent Acquires Funcom Stake

Norwegian game developer and publisher Funcom announces that Tencent has acquired a 29% stake in their company, making the Chinese giant their largest shareholder. Here are the details on the deal:
Tencent, a leading Internet company with a strong online games operation, entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire 29% of the shares in Funcom, the independent developer and publisher of games such as Conan Exiles, The Secret World, and Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. The acquisition makes Tencent the largest shareholder in Funcom. Funcom is listed as Funcom SE on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE: Funcom).

Tencent has agreed to acquire all shares belonging to the Norway-based KGJ Capital AS, which is currently the largest shareholder in Funcom.

For more than a decade, Funcom has successfully launched major multiplayer titles including Anarchy Online, Age of Conan, The Secret World, and most recently Conan Exiles. Both 2017 and 2018 were the most profitable years in Funcom’s history.

Funcom announced recently that the company has acquired the exclusive rights to develop and publish PC and console games based on the DUNE IP for the next six years. The company is already working on an open world sandbox game set in the DUNE universe and is working closely with Legendary Entertainment who will be releasing a new DUNE feature film in December 2020 directed by Denis Villeneuve.

“We are very pleased to see Tencent come in as the largest shareholder of Funcom,” says Funcom CEO Rui Casais. “Tencent has a reputation for being a responsible long-term investor, and for its renowned operational capabilities in online games.The insight, experience, and knowledge that Tencent will bring is of great value to us and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to develop great games and build a successful future for Funcom.”

Tencent ranks top in terms of online games revenue globally and is a shareholder in many of the world’s leading gaming companies such as Riot Games, Epic, Supercell, Ubisoft, Paradox, Frontier and Miniclip.

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Yesterday was National Coffee Day in the U.S.A. and enough other countries that this is often referred to as International Coffee Day. Apologies for not mentioning it on time, as this included chances to get free coffee in some places. But since proper coffee has been a frequent topic here in the past, I thought I'd use the occasion to share the current official BlueTower-approved coffee brewing method. Equipment is a large ceramic cone, a #6 brown paper filter, a coffee grinder, an electric kettle and an instant-read thermometer. I fill the kettle and let it come to a boil as a I grind a batch of French Roast beans on the finest setting. When the water boils I pour a bit through the filter to get it wet and dump the water that drips through. I then refill the electric kettle to the top and turn it back on with the thermometer inserted so I can shut it off when it reaches 205ºF. By experience I know this means to turn off the kettle just as the thermometer passes 201ºF, since the temperature continues to rise for a couple of seconds (YMMV). I dump the ground coffee in the now-damp filter and top it with a small pinch of salt. That is an ingenious tip I picked up from Alton Brown: The salt helps bring out the coffee flavor as it will with any food, and also helps counteract bitterness. When the water is at the right temperature it gets poured through the coffee in a few batches and we're good to go. It may sound a little fussy, but it's actually a straightforward process, and I'd pit the coffee it produces against anyone's.

Obituary: Busbee, songwriter and producer for Maren Morris and Lady Antebellum, dead at 43.

Well-Brewed Links: Thanks Ant.
Science: Elon Musk unveils new Mars rocket prototype, expects missions in months.
Black hole swallowing and ripping apart star captured for first time. Thanks RedEye9.
Images: Borderlands 3 Cosplayer Looks Like an Absolute Badass as Maya.
The images that capture a phone-less world. Thanks RedEye9.
Media: Watch First Trailer for BBC's War of the Worlds Series. Thanks Neutronbeam.
The Billion Ant Mega Colony and the Biggest War on Earth. Thanks Simon.
Compounding Pharmacies- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) (NSFW).
Follow-up: Chernobyl Doctor Fact Checks the HBO Series. Thanks Baenwort.
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