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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019 Half-Life's Anniversary (1998)

New AMD Drivers; DirectX 12 Coming to Fortnite

Epic Games announces that DirectX 12 is coming to Fortnite in the upcoming version 11.20 patch for the battle royale/survival game. The patch for this is not live yet, but new Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.11.3 Drivers are now available to support DirectX12 in Fortnite when it arrives. Here's the news:
As technology evolves, so does Fortnite!

The PC version of Fortnite currently requires a graphics card capable of running Microsoft DirectX 11. In v11.20, however, you’ll have the added option to play the PC version using Microsoft DirectX 12!

By using DX12, PC players with high-end GPUs may experience a higher and steadier frame rate. This is because DX12 delivers better CPU performance and allows for the distribution of rendering jobs across multiple cores.

In the future, we plan on adding features to Fortnite that are made possible by DX12. Allowing players to opt into DX12 before these features are added will give us valuable information in our development efforts and help us shake out any bugs.

If you’re interested in helping us test DX12, please jump in and give the new option a spin.

Detroit: Become Human Next Month

The PC edition of Detroit: Become Human will be released on December 12th on the Epic Games Store. Word is the Windows edition of this game that originally came on PS4 will include visual enhancements, and a playable demo will also be available. Here are more details on this release from French developer Quantic Dream:
Previously only available on PlayStation® 4, Detroit: Become Human is the latest and most ambitious video game production from Quantic Dream. Set in a near and not-so-impossible future, it immerses players in a world at the brink of chaos, where technology has evolved to a point where human like androids are everywhere. They speak, move and behave like human beings, but they are only machines serving humans.

Players will shape and experience an intricate and intense branching narrative told through the eyes of three distinct androids, Kara, Connor and Markus. Each will face countless moral dilemmas that not only determine their fates, but that of the entire city of Detroit. Every decision the player makes, no matter how minute, affects the outcome of the story. Players will want to play and replay to experience the different story resolutions.
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Game Awards Nominees

With the Game Awards 2019 to be handed out on December 12th, the official website for the show now lists all the nominees, offering the chance to cast your own vote for your choices. These awards are an annual love-fest for Hideo Kojima when he doesn't have a new game, so with Death Stranding up for nine awards, this should be turned up to 11 this year. Here's the video announcement and here's a rundown on some nominees:
Game of the Year

  • Control - Remedy/505 Games
  • Death Stranding - Kojma Productions/SIE
  • Resident Evil 2 Capcom/Capcom
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - FromSoftware/Activision
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - BANDAI-NAMCO/SORA/Nintendo
  • The Outer Worlds - Obsidian/Private Division

Action Game

  • Apex Legends - Respawn/EA
  • Astral Chain - Platinum Games/Nintendo
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Infinity Ward/Activision
  • Devil May Cry 5 - Capcom
  • Gears 5 - The Coalition/Xbox Games Studio
  • Metro Exodus - 4A Games/Deep Silver

Action/Adventure

  • Borderlands 3 - Gearbox/2K
  • Control - Remedy/505 Games
  • Death Stranding - Kojma Productions/SIE
  • Resident Evil 2 - Capcom/Capcom
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Grezzo/Nintendo
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - FromSoftware/Activision

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Narcos: Rise of the Cartels Rises

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is now available for Windows and PlayStation 4, offering an action/strategy game based on Narcos, the Netflix series about drug runners. The Windows edition can be picked up on Steam, and versions of the game for Xbox One and Switch are also arriving this week. Here's a Launch Trailer and here's a briefing:
Combining turn-based tactical strategy with brutal real-time combat, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels follows the first season of the award-winning TV series through two distinct campaigns that offer vastly different perspectives on the infamous 80s drug war. Should you help build the Medellin Cartel’s rapidly expanding narcotics empire under the watchful gaze of El Patrón, or fight against them tooth and nail alongside Agent Murphy as the DEA?

Each campaign has its own iconic locations taken directly from the show, from Colombia’s impenetrable sun-drenched jungles to the damp streets of Medellin itself. Recognizable characters from the series are ready and waiting to back you up – and each have their own unique perks to help turn the tide in battle.

Turn-based gameplay is fast, brutal, and satisfying, but just like the show itself, actions in Narcos: Rise of the Cartels have lasting consequences. If you lose a member of your team during battle, they’ll be gone for good. Moving one unit per turn, players will need to act quickly and change their tactics on the fly to stay in control of the battlefield.
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Play Rainbow Six Siege Free This Week

Here's another Netflix tie-in, as Ubisoft announces a limited-time mini-event kicks off tomorrow in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege called Money Heist, as it is based on the Netflix original series of the same name. This will run through November 25th, and the game will be free-to-play for five days starting on Thursday to give everyone the chance to check it out. This page has the details and a trailer. Here's a summary:
Today, Ubisoft® announced a new limited-time mini-event for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® Siege based on the hit Netflix Original Series, Money Heist. The event launches November 20th and will run through November 25th. From November 21st, until November 25th Rainbow Six Siege will also be free to play so anyone can experience this crossover event.

This new game mode set on the map Bank with the returning game mode Hostage. The hostage, of course, is disguised in the infamous red suit and iconic mask worn by the robbers and their captives in Money Heist.

The Money Heist in-game event will also bring a red jumpsuit and mask outfit for Vigil and Hibana. In total, eight unique items will be available, including uniforms, headgear, weapon skins, and charms. These exclusive bundles are available for 1680 R6 Credits.

During the event, Rainbow Six Siege will also be discounted significantly: up to 70% depending on the platform and the edition.
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Beautiful Bricks Break Out

Beautiful Bricks is now available on Steam, offering a Breakout/Arkanoid homage with support for up to four player multiplayer (thanks Indie Retro News). This trailer shows off the game in all its throwback glory. Here's what to expect:
Beautiful Bricks is the ultimate 4 player brick breaker. A restoration of an arcade great with awesome improvements like physic-based ball behavior, more paddle control (including an ability to jump), 4 simultaneous players and boss battles. All presented in a consistent retro ‘8-bit’ aesthetic.
Beautiful Bricks Features

  • 1 - 4 simultaneous players
  • 230 levels and 15 challenging boss battles
  • Over 40 innovative power ups including Jet Pad (giving the paddle flight) and Wreck’n Ball (a giant ball that destroys anything in its path)
  • Unique physic-based ball movement and ability to have the paddle jump
  • Play with keyboard, mouse or gamepad
  • Co-operative and competitive multiplayer modes
  • Special game modes: Endless, Boss Rush, Invader and Marathon
  • 8-bit style graphics and sound
  • Tracker .MOD “chiptune” style music
  • Locally savable high scores and achievements
  • Unlockable secrets and hidden content

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Alphaman Released

Alphaman is now available on Steam, offering a Windows platformer inspired by Mega Man X. This can be seen in this Gameplay Trailer which shows off the game's 8-bit graphics. Here's word:
Alphaman is a Mega Man / X inspired action platformer with 8 hand-crafted stages, each with unique bosses. Each of the first four bosses give Alpha 4 unique new abilities new and unique abilities such as an air dash attack and a holy water attack (a la Castlevania). The adorable operator gives Alpha a rundown of each stage as you enter, but the dialog is entirely skippable for those who prefer the action over the story. Alphaman's graphical style is centered around its 8-bit roots, but the gameplay is from the 16-bit era with dashing and wall climbing as a focus.

Android AI now has the capacity to serve humanity by replacing dangerous, servantile, and repetitive jobs...But then an underground group of hackers known as the "Red Bombers" unleashed a berserker virus that quickly spread amongst android-like. Being the first android whose primary purpose it is to fight other androids, it's up to Alpha to stop the Red Bombers and bring peace to the world.
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etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Video shows poodle dog, deer playing in Traverse City, Michigan yard. Reminds me so much of the Gunnar-man. Thanks Ant.

Shenmue III Released

Shenmue III is now available, offering a long-awaited new installment in the action/adventure series. The Windows edition is available on the Epic Games Store, and a new release trailer celebrates the launch with a look at the game and the history of the series. "Thank you so much for your enduring support these 18 years since Shenmue II," says series creator Yu Suzuki. "I hope from the bottom of my heart that Shenmue III becomes special for you, truly I thank you!" Here's a description of the game:
Shenmue III
Journey deep into rural China as you take on the role of Ryo Hazuki, a Japanese teenager hellbent on finding his father’s killer—a story of adventure, mystery, friendship, martial arts, and ultimately, revenge!

Key Features
One of the most anticipated video games in history, from legendary game developer, Yu Suzuki.

  • Epic Adventure – Immerse yourself in the stunning and magical world of Shenmue
  • Breathing, Living World – Explore inside and outside buildings, take on part-time jobs, play arcade games, and interact with local inhabitants of beautiful Chinese locales
  • Martial Arts Action – Put your training and upgraded skills to the test via intense free battles and Quick Time Events
  • Solve the Mystery – Converse with a colorful and diverse cast of characters and follow leads from those who hold the answers to the mysterious Phoenix Mirror…

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Football Manager 2020 and FM2020 Demo Released

SEGA and Sports Interactive have released Football Manager 2020 for Windows and macOS, offering the latest installment in their association football/soccer series. This comes alongside Football Manager 2020 Touch for Windows and mobile and Football Manager 2020 Mobile for Android and iOS. The Football Manager Website has the recently released interactive trailer for the game, details on the releases, and links to purchase. You can also pick up the PC editions of Football Manager 2020 on Steam, where there's also a playable demo (thanks Frans), which is for Windows only. FM2020 is also a launch title for Google Stadia. The Windows edition of Football Manager 2020 Touch is also available on Steam. Here are the details:
Today also marks the first time that Football Manager has been included as a launch title on a new platform as it takes its place in the day one line-up for Google's Stadia.

The full release of FM20 includes a host of improvements from the pre-release Beta, including an updated match engine, updated player and club information as well as lots of optimisations and fixes thanks to the feedback that we received during the Beta testing phase. Furthermore, access to the Steam Workshop and both the pre-game and in-game editors is now available. Fans who have already started their managerial career on the pre-release Beta can carry their save over to the full game.

With new features concentrating on player development (through the Playing Time Pathway and Development Centre) and each club's unique identity (via Club Vision), FM20 looks set to be the most engrossing entry in the long-running series' history.
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Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations Released

Will wonders never cease? Publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Triumph Studios have released Revelations, offering the first expansion for Age of Wonders: Planetfall, their turn-based strategy game set in space, where nobody yada, yada, yada. This requires the base game, and is included in its season pass. Here's the Release Trailer, and the announcement has more revelations of what to expect, including an accompanying free content update:
Revelations is a new chapter in the Planetfall story following the collapse of the Star Union, marking the re-appearance of Heritor descendants from the utopian Es’Teq society. Using ancient technology, the Heritor aim to establish divine rule across the universe through the reincarnation of its mass following. Take advantage of Heritor Secret Technology or move to suppress their influence across two new campaigns with tactical combat and in-depth empire building.

Key Features:
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Railroad Corporation Leaves Early Access

Railroad Corporation has departed the Early Access station, and the train simulation is now officially available for Windows on Steam. Word is: "This follows a five-month-long Early Access period where several new features such as a sandbox mode and plenty of new maps and missions have been added." The Launch Trailer offers a look at gameplay, and the announcement keeps us on track with details on what to expect:
Relive the pioneering spirit of the Golden Age of Steam by establishing your own railroad empire across 19th century North America. Race against time to bring settlements together, produce and trade goods and develop new technologies.

Embark on your dream career and earn your fortune in the New World. Work to fulfil contracts and complete missions based on historic rail networks across the United States. Lay down tracks, dig tunnels and raise bridges to connect settlements big and small, old and new. Strategy and forward planning are essential to make the best deals – so you’ll need to be across every aspect of your organisation. Control and combine resources, establish new industries and even lobby politicians to change the law of the land.

Key Features:

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Foodball Announced

Cat-astrophe Games studio announces Foodball, a couch sports game coming to Windows and Switch in Q3 2020. This takes the mash-up of association football/soccer and motorsports found in Rocket League and adds a whole new layer involving food. The FoodBall Trailer offers a cinematic look at the concept along with some gameplay footage, and the game's Steam Listing is also now online with screenshots and details. Here's the announcement:
The Polish studio Cat-astrophe Games is currently working on the title that simultaneously creates the unconventional adventure The Unholy Society and has also previously released on Nintendo Switch the space shooter Escape from the Universe. The publisher will be Gaming Factory S.A.

FoodBall combines a sports game with car racing. The gameplay is based on principles similar to soccer – the ball is replaced with, e.g. a tomato and instead of players will food trucks compete. The developers are preparing 3D graphics in pastel colors and an overhead view (isometric view).
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Broken Lines Delayed

It wasn't even three months ago that a 2019 release window for Broken Lines was revealed, but that turns out to be a broken promise, as publisher Super.com and developer PortaPlay announce the alternate-history World War II game is now expected in Q1 2020. Here's the game's previously released official trailer and here's a more recent video developer diary #4 from a couple of weeks ago on the benefits of using cover. Here's the party line on Broken Lines:
The game takes place in an alternate-history World War II where players control a squad of soldiers trapped behind enemy lines who must fight through a bleak, battle-torn landscape to get back home, all while struggling with the psychological and physical hardships of war.

While a tactical-RPG at its core, Broken Lines features a special style of play – where players plan and map out their moves in advance and then execute their orders simultaneously – with the game pausing when a new danger appears, allowing the player to respond to the enemy and rapidly evolving battlefield havoc.
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DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 Next Month

Caps-friendly developer/publisher SQUARE ENIX announces DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is coming to Windows via Steam on December 10th, offering the first PC release in this MINECRAFT-inspired series. Here's an Announcement Trailer and here are the details on the game and a pre-purchase bonus that's in effect through January 6th:
DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is a completely standalone experience that provides the perfect entry point for PC gamers curious to learn more about the story-based building adventure. Players take on the role of a young apprentice builder who washes up on the Isle of Awakening alongside Malroth, a mysterious youth suffering from amnesia. Together, the two explore different islands while developing skills to become a “Master Builder” by helping townsfolk, crafting materials and fighting off enemies.

The STEAM version will include all downloadable content (DLC) that were previously released with the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system version Season Pass, including new content, recipes, hairstyles, clothing and new areas to explore. This includes the Hotto Stuff Pack, Aquarium Pack and the Modernist Pack DLCs.
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Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We awoke to find the first real snowfall of the season came overnight. It's not much, but it did stick. We really enjoyed our view of the pond over the summer, but it looks like we are also going to enjoy it in the winter, as the snow dresses up the bare trees beautifully. That's not something I was anticipating, so here's to serendipity.

Serendipitous Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Legend of Hippo.
Stories: Fincher, Towne Team For "Chinatown" Prequel. Love that movie. Not sure I love this news.
'Meth. We're on it' campaign rolls out in South Dakota to confusion, ridicule.
Science: Scientists create slippery toilet coating that stops poo sticking.
New NASA study finds long-haul danger for astronauts: Blood flow in reverse. Thanks Max.
When stuck in water, bees create a wave and hydrofoil atop it, study finds.
First Global Geologic Map of Titan (Saturn’s Largest Moon) Completed. Thanks Acleacius.
Media: Avenue 5 (2019)- Official Teaser - HBO (NSFW). Thanks Engadget via Neutronbeam.
How to crack a $300 fingerprint gun safe in a few seconds.
Dog drives car. As happy as it gets.
Follow-ups: Jeffrey Epstein: Prison guard expected to surrender to face charges related to Epstein's death.
Supreme Court denies pharma bro Martin Shkreli appeal request. Thanks Boing Boing.
Vegans sue Burger King over meat contamination of Impossible Burger Whopper.
The Funnies: Poison — StBeals.
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