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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Gone Gold - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Respawn tweets that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is now officially gold, and the Star Wars action game is on track for its release in a month. DSOGaming points the way to a new trailer that celebrates the news with over 20 minutes of gameplay footage. Here's the brief announcement tweet:
We are proud to announce that #JediFallenOrder has gone gold! We can't wait for you to embark on this adventure across the Galaxy with us on 11/15.

May the Force be with you!
Continue here to read the full story.

U.S. Congress Rebukes Blizzard

You know you are catching a lot of heat when you receive a bipartisan rebuke from the U.S. Congress. This is exactly what has happened to Activision Blizzard, as The Washington Post reports on a letter sent to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick criticizing the company's recent punishment of Ng 'blitzchung' Wai Chung for speaking out about Hong Kong after a Hearthstone tournament. This is written by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and co-signed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), in a rare act of crossing the aisle. There's an image of the letter on Reddit and the text is reproduced on WCCFTECH. Reading through it gives the impression they are unaware that Blizzard has already reduced blitzchung's punishment for the incident. Here's the letter:
We write to express our deep concern about Activision Blizzard's decision to make player Ng Wai Chung forfeit prize money and ban him from participating in tournaments for a year after he voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. This decision is particularly concerning in light of the Chinese government's growing appetite for pressuring American businesses to help stifle free speech.

Activision Blizzard benefits from China's growing market for esports, along with an investment from Tencent, one of China's largest technology firms. As you and your company are no doubt aware, the Chinese government uses the size and strength of its economy to suppress opinions with which it disagrees. Last week alone, the Chinese government targeted Apple for hosting an app to help peaceful demonstrators evade repression and the National Basketball Association because one team's general manager tweeted in support of Hong Kong protests.

Your company claims to stand by "one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions," yet many of your own employees believe that Activision Blizzard's decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values. Because your company is such of pillar of the gaming industry, your disappointing decision could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedoms. Indeed, many gamers around the world have taken notice your company's actions, understandably calling for boycotts of Activision Blizzard gaming sites.

As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values -- like freedom of speech and thought -- or to give in to Beijing's demands in order to preserve market access. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider your decision with respect to Mr. Chung. You have the opportunity to reverse course. We urge you to take it.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Preloads and Other PC Details

A post on the Activision Blog paves the way for the global launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on October 24th. They say preloads for those who have preordered the Windows edition of the military shooter will begin on October 22nd on Battle.net (there's a separate post for console preloads). They also offer a new PC Trailer in spiffy ultra widescreen format to go along with some additional details on features supported by the Windows edition:
Modern Warfare on PC: Additional Options
The PC version of Modern Warfare also features a number of options adding to your overall gameplay experience, including:

4K and Uncapped Frame Rate: You’re able watch and play at 4K resolution, without a frame-rate capping, allowing you flexibility when adjusting your settings.

Expansive Customization Options for PC: Developer Beenox has been working closely in conjunction with Infinity Ward to ensure the PC version of Modern Warfare sets a new high water-mark for customization, featuring more customization options than we’ve ever had in a Call of Duty® game.

64-Player Ground War Matches: Modern Warfare features a variety of gameplay modes, from close-quarter 2v2 Gunfight matches to large-scale 32v32 Ground War battles, as well as fan-favorite 6v6 and 10v10 modes of play. These are available on all platforms.

Squad up with Crossplay: Crossplay (the ability to fight with or against players on console and PC) is available at launch.

Ultrawide and Multi-Monitor Support: How wide do you want your aspect ratio to be? How many monitors do you want to play Modern Warfare on? It’s up to you!
Continue here to read the full story.

Manifold Garden Sprouts

Manifold Garden is now available, offering an Escher-inspired first-person puzzle game from William Chyr Studio. The platforms that offer this are manifold, as it's available for Windows and macOS from the Epic Games Store and for macOS, iOS, and tvOS through Apple Arcade. They also promise this will come to Steam next year. Prepare to have your mind blown (*hand gesture*) by this trailer and read on for more details:
Manifold Garden is a game that reimagines physics and space. Witness infinity in first-person, and master its rules to solve physics-defying puzzles. Cultivate a garden to open new paths forward, where an eternal expanse awaits.

Key Features

  • An expansive and visually striking world filled with mind-bending puzzles.
  • Manipulate gravity to gain new perspectives and walk on any visible surface.
  • Experience space in new ways as you explore infinitely repeating Escher-esque architecture.

Continue here to read the full story.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Breaks Out

PopCap announces the worldwide release of Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, their new shooter set in the PvZ universe. Along the way they earn our eternal respect for the combination dad joke and outdated pop culture reference (our wheelhouse) by declaring "it's grow time" (Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!). The Windows edition is available on Origin and is available for up to 10 hours for EA Access and Origin Access Basic subscribers and for the duration of their subscription for Origin Access Premier members. Here's the Official Launch Trailer, and here's word:
The newest entry in the world’s wackiest shooter franchise features the expansive suburban region of Neighborville where another coniferous conflict between the brain-less and botanicals is brewing. The battle continues to bloom with three free-roam regions that will have players kicking grass beyond the town. With 20 fully customizable character classes, six glorious online multiplayer modes and the new Giddy Park social region, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is blooming with freshly picked content for players of all walks of life.
Continue here to read the full story.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition Released

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth- Complete Edition is now available for Windows and Switch, offering a combo platter of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory in one package. The PC version is available on Steam and the Launch Trailer offers a look at the RPG(s) in action. Eat that red pill and read on for this opportunity to be a virtual detective:
Jump into the world of EDEN in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, a virtual reality world full of intriguing places, people, and Digimon. EDEN sets the stage for a bizarre encounter with a mysterious entity which causes players to turn into a half-digital, half-physical being that phases in-and-out of the digital and physical worlds. Players must explore the cyber and real world while gaining allies, collecting and training Digimon, and solving mysteries in the Digimon world to get their physical body back.

In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory, players take on the role of Keisuke Amasawa, a high school dropout who gets his EDEN account stolen and is then framed for a crime he did not commit. Keisuke must dive back into the digital world to prove his innocence by tracking down the individual who stole his identity, while navigating through the ins and outs of EDEN.
Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Post-Release Plans

A post to the Activision Games Blog explains the Call of Duty team's approach to releasing new content for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Admitting there are "still questions around how the economy will evolve throughout the post-launch, live seasons," they say that Battle Passes for the shooter will not be sold upon launch to allow players to work through the unlocks, and that all functional content can be unlocked by playing. They are also removing multiplayer map packs to allow everyone to play together, and making other changes to create an even playing field:

A message from the Call of Duty team.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is almost here. From the moment this project began three years ago, the energy has been extraordinary.

We’ve set our sights on not only creating the best game possible this year, but also on breaking down walls and bringing the community together. Starting with Modern Warfare, we will be:

  • Introducing crossplay to unite the community across platforms for the first time.
  • Removing Season Pass and a la carte DLC multiplayer map packs to ensure everyone can play together.
  • Delivering free post-launch multiplayer maps and modes for all players.
  • Releasing post-launch multiplayer maps and modes simultaneously on all platforms.

We are excited about what these changes will bring to Call of Duty players. That said, we also recognize there is one more topic that many fans are interested to learn more about.

Today, let’s address the basics for the in-game economy coming in Modern Warfare.

  • We are introducing a new Battle Pass system, not a loot box system.
  • All functional content that has an impact on game balance, such as base weapons and attachments, can be unlocked simply by playing the game.
  • The new Battle Pass system will allow players to see the content that they are earning or buying. Battle Passes will launch timed to new, post-launch live seasons, so you can unlock cool new Modern Warfare-themed content that matches each season.
  • With the new Battle Pass system, players will be able to earn COD Points by playing the game.
  • There will be both a Free Stream and a Premium Stream of content in the Battle Pass System in Modern Warfare. New base weapons will be earned through gameplay, simply by playing Modern Warfare. Functional attachments for base weapons can be unlocked through gameplay as well just like in the game’s Beta.
  • The Battle Pass and the In-Game Store will feature a variety of cosmetic content that does not impact game balance.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Outer Worlds Specs and Launch Trailer

The Outer Worlds is set to launch one week from today, and the Official Launch Trailer is now online to pave the way. Also, the Obsidian Forums now offer System Requirements for the Windows edition of the sci-fi RPG (thanks DSOGaming). Word is you will not need an out of this world PC to get this to run:
System Requirements for The Outer Worlds

Minimum

OS:
Windows 7 (SP1) 64bit
CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 or AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
RAM: 4GB
GPU: Nvidia GTX 650 Ti or AMD HD 7850
HDD Space: 40GB

Recommended

OS:
Windows 10 64bit
CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K or Ryzen 5 1600
RAM: 8GB
GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB or Radeon RX 470
HDD Space: 40GB
Continue here to read the full story.

Moons of Madness Specs and Trailer

With Moons of Madness due for release on Windows on Tuesday, Funcom has unveiled the system specifications for the Lovecraftian survival/horror game. They celebrate the occasion with a new Teaser Trailer showing off gameplay and The Secret World game's Martian environments. This features the game's environments, a giant tentacle monster, and a smaller tentacle monster that's so cute you just want to give it a hug. Word is: "The video displays the protagonists’ bloodcurdling encounter with a creature currently only known as the Thing in the Mist." Here's the game's space elevator pitch: "In Moons of Madness you play as Shane Newehart, chief engineer on a research facility on Mars – and after awakening from a disconcerting dream, you are about to find out that reality is far more terrifying than even your worst nightmare. You will have to rely on your problem-solving skills, your calm and your ability to run and hide, if you are to have any hope of survival." Here are the system specifications which are now part of the Moons of Madness Steam Listing:
Minimum:
CPU:
Intel Core i5-760 or equivalent / AMD Athlon X4 740 or equivalent
GPU: GeForce GTX 460 or MX150 / Radeon R7 260X
RAM: 4 GB
Disk space: Around 15 GB
OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 x64

Recommended:
CPU:
Intel Core i7-2600K or equivalent / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or equivalent
GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 / Radeon RX 580
RAM: 8 GB
Disk space: Around 15 GB
OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 x64
Continue here to read the full story.

Enemy on Board Announced

Windwalk Games, a studio comprising former League of Legends developers, announces Enemy on Board, a "social deception" game. This does not yet carry a release date, but they say a Kickstarter campaign to support development will kick off on October 22nd. Here's a trailer (NSFW) showing off gameplay, and here is a description:
Enemy on Board is a multiplayer game for PC that combines hidden-role gameplay with fast-paced action combat. Each round, 6 players wake up on a spaceship and 2 are randomly selected to be Aliens. Players must fight, lie and sleuth to survive. Last team standing wins.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Fisherman – Fishing Planet Released

The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is now available, offering a premium version of the free-to-play Fishing Planet. All the F2P game's additional content is included for one purchase price, defying the old saying: Sell a fishing game and you can eat for a day, offer a free-to-play fishing game and you can eat forever. But BIGBEN and Fishing Planet LLC are throwing out a wider net with this release, so cast your eyes on the Launch Trailer and the announcement:
The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is for all nature and sport fishing fans! The premium version of Fishing Planet, which sets the standard for fishing simulators and already boasts 7 million players, combines all the content released to date in one package: the equivalent of more than 35 DLCs as well as features exclusive to this premium version of the game. By moving from a free-to-play model with paid content to a premium model, it guarantees players will be able to enjoy a complete and immersive experience.

The Fisherman – Fishing Planet content:

  • 143 species of fish with realistic behaviour
  • 19 beautiful water locations with authentic backgrounds and vegetation
  • Thousands of tackle combinations possible, each with unique properties
  • Dynamic weather with a day/night cycle and different seasons
  • Online competitions playable solo or co-op, with a trophies and ranking system

Including exclusive contents:

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding

Hardware Reviews

  • ASRock RX 5700 XT Taichi Graphics Card on Vortez.
  • Fractal Design Ion+ 760W Platinum PSU on APH Networks.
  • GIGABYTE AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD on Vortez.
  • SilentiumPC Navis EVO ARGB 240 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler on Nikk Tech.
  • Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis on TweakTown.
  • Team Group Cardea II 1 TB NVMe SSD on TechPowerUp.
  • ZADAK Spark RGB DDR4 4133MHz RAM on Vortez.

Out of the Blue

I see a local news story reporting that power outages in the area persist in the aftermath of a nor'easter that recently rocked the area. It seems the brief brownouts I recently mentioned experiencing were preventive measures intended to protect us from such problems. But this all serves as a reminder that the new home of the BlueTower is a bit further off the beaten path than before, so I want to acknowledge the possibility that we may be more vulnerable to weather-related threats to our power lines than in the past (I hope I'm wrong about this). Sadly, I believe living in a condo prevents us from being able to get a generator, but if the lights do go out, I will do my best to find a way to make updates anyway. At the very least I should be able to let you know what's going on if it comes to it. In the meantime, I will use the time-honored way of staving off such issues with the scientifically proven technique of crossing my fingers.

Powerful Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Residence Gudu.
Doodle Alive.
Links: This Monty Python Black Knight Statue Talks and Features Flesh Wound Action. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Ex-CIA Officer Reveals How Eateries Are Key To Spycraft. Thanks RedEye9.
Stories: Obesity Rates For Children Are Rising Fast Across The Globe. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: Earth-like exoplanets may be common in the universe, study suggests.
Steroid injections may lead to more long-term harm than previously thought, new study says.
Images: Beau. 14/10 a self-sufficient king. Thanks Kxmode.
This Is the Free Jumpsuit You’ll Get With a $250,000 Ticket to Space. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: Next generation vertical lift Bell V 280 Valor.
Don't break into-crash into-key a Tesla. So you should do those things to cars without cameras?
Utah Highway Patrol trooper swoops in to save unconscious man from being hit by a train. Damn!
Follow-up: Is The F-35 Worth $115 Million?
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