Archived News:

Saturday, Nov 30, 2019

Get Rayman Legends for Free

Rayman Legends is now available for free on the Epic Games Store as their latest weekly giveaway. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday this will be free through next Friday. This will overlap with their next freebie, as the Jotun: Valhalla Edition will be available for nothing starting on Thursday. Here are some details on the action/platformer gameplay of Rayman Legends:
Run, jump & smack your way through 100+ maps

Connect with your friends through a variety of challenges that will test your skill and speed. Check the leaderboards to see where you rank around the world.

Jump to the rhythm and rock the party to beat the crazy musical levels

RTS/FPS Earthbreakers Revealed

A tweet from Petroglyph Games from a couple of weeks ago reveals plans for Earthbreakers, an upcoming game that combines their favored real-time strategy genre with first-person shooter action (thanks DSOGaming). A Teaser Trailer shows off gameplay and what look like cel shaded graphics. The game's Steam Listing is online showing a 2020 release date and offering some details, saying, "Earthbreakers is a team-based PvP multiplayer game which combines the most enjoyable elements of FPS and RTS! You and your team battle for territory and harvest rare resources, while building and customizing your team’s base. Choose an infantry combat class, defend your base and supply lines, construct and pilot powerful military vehicles, and ultimately annihilate the enemy's HQ!" Here's more:
The year was 2045. In a time of global unrest, riots and civil war, scientists discover a new form of matter, Vilothyte, that can be used both to create any element or used directly as a power source. Considered a cure for the Earth's resource crisis, a system of satellites was placed in orbit which would scan for the materials needed to create the material and fire conversion bombs. Designated the “Earthbreaker Project”, It was said to be safe and would never target populated or endangered areas.
Continue here to read the full story.

Neon Noodles Early Access

Neon Noodles - Cyberpunk Kitchen Automation is now in Early Access on Steam for Windows and Linux. This offers the chance to run your own futuristic noodle counter, a favored eatery of characters like Rick Deckard, Korben Dallas, and Spike Spiegel. Here's the previously released Announcement Trailer with a look, and here are some details on the game, which is expected to graduate from Early Access next year:
From the developer of the award-winning puzzler Semispheres, comes Neon Noodles, an award-winning futuristic puzzle programming game, whereby the player creates an automation machine that creates food dishes. Inspired by the open-ended machine building puzzle games of Zachtronics such as Opus Magnum, players use a combination of robots, ingredient stations, process stations, and programming commands to create a well oiled machine that churns out dish after dish. Puzzles have multiple solutions as players customize their process to be as complicated or streamlined as they want.

Program your robots to make ramen, guacamole, bibimbap, spaetzle, paella, and all manner of delectable cuisines from around the world! Neon Noodles features over 100 recipes consisting of 200 ingredients. Craft your kitchen’s code through a very intuitive record-and-replay system where you control the robot that creates the program, then edit it later if needed. Travel the world and master the art of cooking through technological advancement in a cyberpunk setting filled with mysteries.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rocket League Changes Countdown

A tweet from Rocket League has a PSA for players of this vehicular sports game, warning that some microtransactions and other features will be disabled next week to pave the way for the game's Blueprint Update:
PSA: The following will be disabled on December 3 at 9 a.m. PST (5 p.m. UTC) to prepare for the Blueprint Update:

- Key purchasing
- DLC purchasing
- player-to-player trading
- trade-ins
- Crate interactions

Plan accordingly!

Out of the Blue

From the no good deed goes unpunished file, I hurt my back today dealing with some of the boxes that are still hanging around after our move. I've had a few different varieties of back pain over the years. This is the nostalgic kind, as it's a mid-back strain that I last suffered from over 20 years ago when I got my first Aeron chair. I think this should go away with a little rest, so that's my excuse to leave those boxes where they are for a while. Once I'm back in action I will be much more careful about lifting things properly. Ouch.

Obituary: William Ruckelshaus, Who Defied Nixon In 'Saturday Night Massacre,' Dies At 87. Thanks RedEye9.

Achy Breaky Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: 'The Wall' cemented Pink Floyd's fame – but destroyed the band. Thanks Acleacius.
Stories: Newspaper Accidentally Runs Ad For ‘Pictures With Satan’ At Christmas Fair.
"John Wick 4" Has A "Matrix 4" Problem?
Science: How NASA is evolving through partnerships with private space companies.
Underwater loudspeakers could help restore damaged coral reefs.
Is Twice Boiled Water Really Bad for You and Potentially a Carcinogen?

Friday, Nov 29, 2019

Codemasters Buys Slightly Mad Studios

There was news this summer that Modern Pick Entertainment was to acquire a "substantial" stake in Slightly Mad Studios, but now follows up on their reporting on that to say that the Project CARS developer has now been purchased by Codemasters. Word is the deal includes all of the company's 150 employees. The deal is for $25 million in cash and $5 million in stock, but there is also an "earnout clause" that can add to this total based on earnings over the next three years. They report this could ultimately add $166 million to the deal, though they quote an analyst saying this will most likely end up netting them about $68 million.

Google Starts New Stadia Studio with Assassin's Creed Veterans

VGC reports Google has started their first game developer to support Stadia, saying they've opened a studio in Montreal. This is staffed by former Ubisoft executives that were veterans of Assassin's Creed devs for first Stadia studio, headed up by Jade Raymond. Here's a rundown of who is involved:
Montreal’s Stadia Games and Entertainment’s studio is the streaming platform’s first original games studio, established by another former Assassin’s Creed developer, Jade Raymond, who is in charge of Stadia’s first-party games production.

Sébastien Puel has joined the company as director general of the studio. Puel was one of the key figures behind Assassin’s Creed and acted as the franchise’s executive producer for almost ten years, from Assassin’s Creed 2 to 2014’s Unity.

Meanwhile Francois Pelland has been appointed head of production for Google’s first-party game strategy.

Pelland was the exec director of development at Ubisoft Quebec, the studio that created Assassin’s Creed Syndicate under his watch. Pelland was also a senior producer for Assassin’s Creed 3 and exec producer for South Park: The Fractured but Whole.

Finally, veteran artist Mathieu Leduc has joined Google Stadia as an art director. Leduc was in charge of the art direction for the first two Watch Dogs games and was assistant art director for the original Assassin’s Creed.

Red Dead Redemption PC Care Package Released; Another Coming Next Month

Rockstar Games announces the release of the promised free care package for Red Dead Redemption 2 players who suffered through the rocky launch of the PC edition of the wild west shooter. They are also promising an additional care package in the next major PC update next month that will include a variant of the new Marino Bandolier, a new off-hand holster, and more. Here are the details:
All Red Dead Online PC players will receive the finely detailed Prieto Poncho, available for free in the Camp Wardrobe or at any clothing store. Wheeler, Rawson & Co. will also supply a curated care package of items to help players survive out on the open range:
Continue here to read the full story.

Blood of Steel Beta Demo

Steam now offers a playable beta demo of Blood of Steel, a new MOBA from YC Games. This is a free-to-play game that will officially launch on January 9th, so this is basically a soft launch. Here's the recently launched gameplay video, and here are the details:
In Blood of Steel, you command the army of a legendary commander from world history to conquer cities and expand your territory against other players online to ultimately rule the world. Set throughout the Middle Ages, players choose from multiple authentic battlefields as they engage in 5-v-5, 7-v-7 or 10-v-10 legion-based battles, with each individual player allowed to lead up to 40 AI soldiers. Clever use of terrain, management of different troop types and adapting to dynamic weather systems incorporating variables such as rain and snow are the keys to victory. As well as the legion-based warfare, players can play a one-on-one duel in PvP battles in the Heroes Arena, offering them a chance to truly show their mastery of the complex fighting system.
Continue here to read the full story.

Biker Garage: Mechanic Simulator Released

Biker Garage: Mechanic Simulator is now available on Steam, offering a simulation of fixing bikers, or something like that. This is shown off in this trailer, and described below:
In Biker Garage, you become a motorcycle mechanic. Buy used motorcycles, repair them, and sell them for a profit. There are ten types of motorbikes to work on. Develop your workshop and get more and more customers. Show the bikes online and sell more. 2000+ interactive parts to use.

Key features:

  • Ten different types of motorcycles!
  • Regular and tricky queries from clients
  • Repair system (buy, sell, mount, unmount parts)
  • Painting parts
  • Auction system (buy, restore and sell motorcycles for a profit)
  • Skills development
  • Expand your garage
  • Take part in 1/4-mile racing challenges
  • Endless gameplay - clients always come back with new problems
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

  • - Half-Life: Alyx changes the game for VR exclusives.
    "We've been here before, of course. This is an echo of how Valve established Steam as such a dominant force in PC game distribution in the first place, by making it into a prerequisite to playing Half-Life 2 all those years ago. The differences, however, are equally striking; when Half-Life 2 pushed Steam onto everyone's PCs (not without causing much grumbling in the process, I might add), it did so at a time when the rest of the industry was dragging its feet on digital distribution, giving Valve a years-long headstart over its competition. Not so this time; even as companies focus intently on improving their hardware offerings, everyone is keenly aware that the real winner should VR become a viable platform won't be whoever sells the best headset, but whoever owns the storefront for that headset. Half-Life: Alyx will give SteamVR a boost, but competitors won't be far behind this time."

Out of the Blue

Happy Black Friday! Here's hoping that if you spent the wee hours of this morning waiting online outside a store that you took advantage of our newly enhanced support for mobile browsing. Speaking of which, welcome to Blue's News version 4.02, as Frans rolled out our new iteration of the responsive redesign this morning. This post has the details. A lot of this is under-the-hood stuff, and Frans put in a lot of work to make older stories take advantage of the changes and continue to work properly. You may notice changes in how some visited links display, and some other visual tweaks. Probably most significant from the user end is that embedded videos now scale down properly on smaller screens. As noted in the post, please let us know if you encounter any oddities that result from the changes. And thanks again to Kxmode and Frans for all their work. You'd be surprised how much effort is involved in many of these changes.

Obituary: Brad Gobright, American rock climber, dies after a fall in Mexico.

Black Friday Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Solar Blast.
Link: Why It's So Difficult to Buy Contacts in the U.S. Thanks Boing Boing.
Stories: 'Black Friday' becoming a shadow of its former self in US.
7 Times That "Rick and Morty" Got the Science Right. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: NASA Engineers Are Trying To Figure Out Why It's So Hard To Dig Mars. Thanks RedEye9.
Light pollution is key 'bringer of insect apocalypse.' Thanks RedEye9.
Black hole found by Chinese scientists is a 'monster' -- and bigger than thought possible.
Media: Illusionist Derren Brown Reads Seth’s Mind.
Dryer Jingle Counterpoint.
Auctions: Star Wars Online2019 - Sotheby's. Thanks Neutronbeam.
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