Archived News:

Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020

Play the Half-Life Series for Free

Steam News announces that anyone with a free Steam account can play all the games in the Half-Life series for free between now and the release of Half-Life: Alyx in March. Here's word:
Series FREE to play for Steam users, from now until the day it launches!

If you already have Steam installed, you can click the following links to start playing now!
Half-Life
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two

If you don't have Steam, you can download it here.

Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements. The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible.

Epic Warns Fortnite Cheaters

In a post on the Fortnite Website Epic Games warns competitive Fortnite players that they are on the lookout for those who are cheating by way of collusion. Here's word on what you should not be during in battle royale matches, and how you may get tossed for being a tosser who engages in toy tossing:
Players may not work together to deceive or otherwise cheat other players during any match (“Collusion”). Examples of Collusion include the following:

  • Teaming: Players working together during the match while on opposing teams.
  • Planned Movement: Agreement between 2 or more opposing players to land at specific locations or to move through the map in a planned way before the match begins.
  • Communication: Sending or receiving signals (both verbal and non-verbal) to communicate with opposing players.
  • Item Dumping: Intentionally dropping items for an opposing player to collect.

Throughout last year, players have been sending or receiving signals more commonly during official Fortnite competitions to the point where many players are confused around the ruling.

For 2020 (starting 1/20/20), we are taking action against any kind of in-game communication between opponents via signaling in official tournament matches. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pick-axe swinging
  • Emoting
  • Toy tossing
  • Jumping

Any cases of signaling like those listed above will now result in a teaming/collusion penalty. We want to be explicitly clear that pacifism-style gameplay is still allowed, but if signaling is involved, we will review and take appropriate action for the teaming/collusion penalty. Repeat offenders may be subject to increased penalties.

New AMD Radeon Drivers

AMD Support now offers new Adrenalin 2020 Edition version 20.1.3 optional drivers for Windows. These address a few issues and also add support for new Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards:
Support For

  • Radeon RX 5600 XT.

Fixed Issues

  • An intermittent black screen or loss of display may occur when performing parallel actions such as web browsing, gaming or watching video.
  • A limited number of games such as Nioh™, Dragon Quest Builders 2™, WWE™2K20, Dead or Alive 6™ and Atelier Ryza™ may crash or fail to launch.
  • Wolfenstein™ 2: The New Colossus is not detected in Radeon Software games manager.
  • Text overflow in some UI boxes or toast messages may be experienced in some language localizations.
  • Fan Tuning may change back to the default state when switching between available GPUs.
  • Copy text options are not available in the display specs table for Radeon Software.
  • An intermittent black screen or loss of display may occur when the system is left idle at desktop.
  • Factory Reset install may keep previously configured Radeon Software game profiles. This can cause mismatch between global graphics settings and per profile settings.

Daybreak Games Opens Separate Franchise Studios

Daybreak Game Company announces they've opened three separate studios to "amplify" each of their three existing game franchises going forward. These are Dimensional Ink Games for DC Universe Online, Darkpaw Games for EverQuest, and Rogue Planet Games for PlanetSide. Word is: "this business model is the result of a long-term strategy designed to amplify the existing franchises while enabling each studio to further foster its unique identity, community and culture." Here is a Franchise Studios FAQ to address your burning questions about this, and here is more from the announcement::
By allowing the identities of each of these studios to thrive under their individual studios, each team will have the flexibility to continue their work developing current and upcoming games, recruiting new talent and building upon the legacy of their respective franchises.

Dimensional Ink Games in Austin develops and operates DC Universe Online, the one-of-a kind DC Super Hero-based MMORPG enjoyed by millions across PC and consoles. Dimensional Ink will be led by Jack Emmert, the mastermind behind City of Heroes, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter. The studio will continue to support DCUO while developing its next high-profile action MMO project starting in 2020.
Continue here to read the full story.

Neverwinter: Infernal Descent Released

Neverwinter: Infernal Descent is now available for the Windows edition of Neverwinter, while it will arrive next month on the console versions of Cryptic Studios' free-to-play MMORPG. The Official Launch Trailer offers a look at the new content this brings, while the announcement explains all:
In Infernal Descent, Vallenhas Manor has been ripped from Faerûn and pulled into the fiery depths of Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells, during the ongoing conflict between devils and demons known as the Blood War. Players must team up with two new heroes, the Paladin Alric Vallenhas and the Bard Etrien Sael, along with heroes of yore for a grand adventure through the Nine Hells to save the people of Vallenhas Estate from the infernal machinations of the archdevil Zariel.

As Neverwinter players descend into the fiery depths, they will experience a new endgame campaign specifically crafted for level 80 characters, a vast adventure zone with heroic encounters and a new challenging endgame dungeon set in a devil’s citadel right above Avernus. Other notable Descent Into Avernus-themed additions include unique story instances, new diabolical enemies, equipment, and more. Below is a detailed list of features:
Continue here to read the full story.

Drawkanoid Breaks Out on Steam

Drawkanoid is now available on Steam, offering a brick breaking game for Windows and macOS that operates both in bullet time and at ludicrous speed. This trailer from a couple of years ago shows off the game's frenetic action, though this should probably be avoided by those prone to seizures. Here's more on this game, which won the game of the year award in the Nordic Game Discovery Contest Season III:
Independent developer QCF Design today announced that neon-drenched block breaker, Drawkanoid, is now available for PC on Steam. Cleverly combining hyperspeed action with bullet time, Drawkanoid lets players draw the paddle that ricochets the lightning fast ball into layers of bricks bursting them into a glistening sparkle.

“I’m thrilled to release Drawkanoid and offer a different take on the block-breaking genre,” said Danny Day, CEO of QCF Design. “It’s fast, fun and gorgeous to look at. With shiny explosions, ridiculous power ups and various modes, Drawkanoid has something for everyone. Draw fast, break faster!”

Bringing back the classic Arkanoid spirit, Drawkanoid takes the good old brick-smashing action and pushes it to the extreme. Players have to strategically draw the paddle to blast off the supersonic ball that shatters everything into explosion-filled eye candy. Bullet time lets players tactically deploy various power ups and score huge combos, gradually accelerating the speed of the game as players improve. Drawkanoid features multiple game modes, including a tension-mounting race against the clock in Countdown, and a Zen mode to completely zone out in while therapeutically smashing kaleidoscopic patterns to calming chiptunes.
Continue here to read the full story.

DEEEER Simulator Early Access

PLAYISM announces DEEEER Simulator: Your Average Everyday Deer Game is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering a Windows game where you play as anything but your average everyday deer. Here's a gameplay trailer showing off this uncommon cervinae, and here's more on the game, its early access release, and what to expect from the upcoming final version:
Created by NASPAPA GAMES, a Japanese creator, and based on everyday scenes you would see in Nara, Japan (which is famous for its deer population). You will play as an ordinary deer and use your very ordinary deer abilities to enjoy your ordinary deer life...especially your telescopic neck and grappling hook like antlers…

The developer has named the genre of this game “Slow Life Town Destruction”, and just as the name suggests you can do either, chill with other animals peacefully or bring it all crashing down. Be warned though, continuous destruction will result in being hunted down by the police who will dispatch increasingly tough “officers” to take you down.
Continue here to read the full story.

DOOM Eternal Previews

A whole bunch of DOOM Eternal Previews hit the internet today:

Commandos 2 HD & Praetorians HD Remasters Friday

Kalypso Media announces both Commandos 2 - HD Remaster and Praetorians - HD Remaster will both be officially released on Friday, offering the chance to return to updated editions of each of these strategy games. Here's word on both games, which will head to consoles in the spring:
In Commandos 2 – HD Remaster, take control of an elite group of Allied commandos who must venture deep into enemy territory and utilize their combined expertise to complete a series of notoriously demanding missions. In this World War II genre-defining classic, explore interactive environments and use your commandos’ unique skill sets to complete your mission against seemingly impossible odds.

In Praetorians – HD Remaster, relive the celebrated real-time strategy classic in high definition. Set amidst the political machinations of an emerging Roman Empire, prove your worth on the battlefields of Egypt, the combat theaters of Gaul and finally the heart of the Empire itself in Italy, in the crusade to become Emperor. Your quest will not be an easy one, as the Empire is heavily defended by thousands of different troop types and war machines, all with special skills and individual strengths. To emerge victorious, you’ll need to learn to combine your units and exploit the weaknesses of your enemies. But beware – the closer you get to the Emperor, the closer you get to facing the Praetorian Guard – the most powerful and deadly fighting force in the Empire!

HOME: Hit N' Rush Announced

Spanish studio Blackmouth Games developer announces HOME: Hit N' Rush, saying their first fully in-house game is a team-based third-person shooter. This will be a free-to-play game, and while it does not yet carry a final release date, they say it should come to Early Access on Steam by the end of this year. Here are some screenshots, and here's word:
In HOME: Hit N’ Rush, the player will portray a Gifted, a soldier heir of the Kabara and the Balae, antique civilizations that were forced to leave the continent. The Gifted, teamed up in groups of three, are designated in the old continent, now known as The Outbreak, with two goals: gather materials for the colonies and clean up the area of Rovers.

The Rovers are feral mutants that wander at will in The Outbreak. The only way to exterminate them is activating The Pulse, a powerful device invented by the Balae that can eradicate them, but it also affects the Gifted. To avoid being wiped out every few minutes, the Gifted will have to hide in Domes that will appear randomly through the map.

The Gifted will have to fight other Strike Teams for the absolute control of the map, but in case you perish, you’ll get another chance in the Ghost World, a brief second round where you’ll fight for the right of stay in the game.

The early access release will be available at the end of the year in Steam, but Blackmouth Games will release a semi-open alpha version along with an Early Adopter pack with all kinds of perks of HOME for the ones who test and support the game in the early stages.

KEY FEATURES
Continue here to read the full story.

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters Full Release Next Week

Publisher Headup and developer Devespresso Games announce that The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters will emerge from its Early Access coma on January 28th for a full release for Windows, macOS, and Linux on GOG.com and Steam. Here's what Early Access players need to know about what will happen at that time: "The game’s save data will be reset at release, and the game will offer new surprises, hidden rooms, 10 new achievements, and an all-new ending that was not available during Early Access. A new art book, soundtrack, and two skins will be introduced at release which will be available to purchase separately or as part of the bundle:" A new Full Release Trailer celebrates the news, and the announcement offers the following details:
The game explores universal themes of friendship, bullying and the pressure to achieve well in a distinctly Korean setting.

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters continues the dark and sinister adventure from The Coma: Recut with players journeying beyond the deserted Sehwa High School and into the surrounding district. Featuring vibrant, hand-illustrated visuals by Minho Kim combined with a nightmare-fueled story of a relentless slasher by T. L. Riven, The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters precariously balances the urgency of exploration with the need for survival.

Since its Early Access launch in November 2019, The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters received raving user reviews with 98% of the Steam players posting positive reviews and gaining 'Overwhelmingly Positive' status in the last 30 days.

New players will not require familiarity with the story from The Coma: Recut. The sequel follows the journey of a new protagonist, Mina Park and her first experience in the Shadow Realm. Those who are familiar with the story will be rewarded for their knowledge of the lore and cameo appearances from returning characters.
Continue here to read the full story.

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions Announced

BANDAI NAMCO announces Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, an upcoming game based on Captain Tsubasa, an anime series centered on the world of association football/soccer. There's no word yet on when this will come to the west, but when it does it will be available on Steam as well as consoles. Here's the announcement trailer and here's the pitch:
Based on the works of series creator, Yoichi Takahashi, the game chronicles the athletic exploits of Tsubasa Ozora and the glory and success his teammates experience under his leadership.

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions immerses players in a fantastic anime portrayal of the world of professional soccer. Players will be able to execute an array of powerful offensive and defensive super moves as they battle powerful soccer teams. The game will feature multiple gameplay modes including Story Modes, Versus Mode, and Online Versus Mode.

“We’re excited to take to the pitch and bring Captain Tsubasa back to western console and PC gaming audiences with Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions.” said Dennis Lee, Director of Brand Marketing at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “With Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions we’re combining the global excitement surrounding the sport of soccer with the nostalgic appeal of the classic Captain Tsubasa franchise; all presented with anime style and flair. Soccer and anime fans are in for a truly unique and unforgettable experience!”
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

I can only assume it's impossible to spoil this weekend's NFL results after a couple of days of wall-to-wall coverage of the Super Bowl matchup, though to that point that means there's no reason to explicitly mention the outcomes either. I usually hole up at home to watch the playoffs, but in a rare bit of socialization, my crew of sports buddies congregated for the occasion. It was great to see everybody and we had a lot of fun watching together, which helped stave off any disappointment that they were not the greatest games. All the upsets along the way leave only a few players alive in our pool, so it's cool that the Super Bowl will still end up deciding the winner. Good luck to both players vying for the top spot, which is about as meaningless a comment as one can make.

Super Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Links: How Dan Aykroyd went from battling spirits to selling them.
Stories: Amtrak To Drop $25,000 Ticket Price For Two Wheelchair Users After Complaints.
Single-use plastic: China to ban bags and other items. Thanks Max.
Science: Immune cell that kills most cancers discovered by accident by British scientists. Thanks Max.
Death on Mars. Like the anti-David Bowie. Thanks Digg.
Coronavirus: 6 people dead as China confirms Wuhan virus can be spread by humans.
Media: Meet ‘The Michael Jordan of Dogs.’
The Era of the Barefoot Kicker.
Alaska man ducks into shed to avoid bull moose. Thanks Boing Boing.
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