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Wednesday, Feb 12, 2020 Abraham Lincoln's & Charles Darwin's Birthdays

Star Control: Origins Earth Rising - Part 4 Announced

Stardock announces Earth Rises, the upcoming concluding segment of Earth Rising, their four-part expansion for Star Control: Origins. The expansion is offered through Steam, where the first three parts are already available, and they say part four is coming "soon." This trailer shows off Earth Rises, and says it is now available, though this does not actually seem to be the case. Here's word on what this will offer when it is actually released:
Stardock announced the final installment of its 4-part expansion to Star Control®: Origins™ today. Earth Rising - Part 4: Earth Rises introduces players to exciting new adventures, including bar fights at Kapteyn's Bar, the reluctant return of a God, a search for a missing Commander, and more.

Star Control: Origins is set in the late 21st century. The player is the Captain of Earth's first interstellar starship with the mission to explore the galaxy, find allies to help protect Earth from hostile aliens, and find the resources necessary to help Earth expand to the stars.

Earth Rises is the final part in a four-part expansion pack called Earth Rising. The expansion adds a host of new aliens, ships, adventures and destinations to the already rich universe introduced in Star Control: Origins. Because Star Control is a non-linear action/RPG game, the new content does not require the player to have already completed the main story arc from the base game.
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Veritas Released

Glitch Games now offers Veritas, a new adventure/puzzle game for Windows, macOS, and mobile. The PC editions are available on Steam, where there is also a playable demo which is updated since the beta version released last year. A new Release Trailer shows off the game's Myst-inspired gameplay, and the announcement has the details:
Having signed on the dotted line of the mysterious Veritas Industries, you find yourself waking up in a small cell with no memory of what happened the day before. Equipped with only the Glitch Camera, you must uncover the truth of who you are, and what you've done. Scribble notes onto your snaps and use them freely at any time to help solve the strange puzzles that stand in your way.

Creators of the hugely popular adventure mystery series Forever Lost, developer Glitch Games has designed Veritas as a spiritual successor designed to delight past Glitch Games players, as well as introduce the genre to new gamers looking for a new take on the adventure genre.
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The Adventures of 00 Dilly Released

The Adventures of 00 Dilly is now available, offering an action/puzzle game for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The PC edition is offered on Steam, and this video shows off gameplay, which puts you in the unenviable position of a crash-test dummy. Here's the dilly-o:
The Adventures of 00 Dilly is a fun family game that catapults players through lovingly crafted levels filled with fantastically funny challenges. The titular protagonist of the game — 00 Dilly — is a discarded crash test dummy who wants to prove that he’s able to handle anything the world throws at him in his quest to be the best crash test dummy that ever did test crashes!

Players will help Dilly by repeatedly launching him into danger. Our fearless flailing friend can collect various objects while in the air, earning powers and points! If that’s not enough harm for our hero, there are foes, like Bad Bears, who do their darndest to stop Dilly from reaching his goal, while Nice Goats offer boosts to bring on the bonuses!
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Hunting Simulator 2 Announced

Publisher NACON and developer Neopica announce Hunting Simulator 2, a simulation they say all hunting enthusiasts will love. This is coming to North America for Windows on June 25th, for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on June 30th, and for Switch at a later date. Here's how this will expand upon the original Hunting Simulator: "In Hunting Simulator 2, you explore bigger, more varied and more spectacular natural environments thanks to completely redesigned graphics and sound effects. The game provides many hours of challenges and immersion among the flora and fauna of some of the most beautiful areas of Europe and the United States." Put on some camo and douse yourself in deer urine to prepare for the Reveal Trailer, and read on for how this dog will hunt:
Among the many new features of Hunting Simulator 2, hunting fans can rely on their hunting dog, whose abilities will be a big asset for tracking down game. The tracking, approach and hide phases have been faithfully reproduced for total immersion. There are over 33 animal species to find in Hunting Simulator 2. The artificial intelligence for each species has had significant work put in to recreate their unique and realistic behaviours. With help from your four-legged companion, learn how to follow their tracks to complete your objectives.

Via an all-new interface, hunters can also choose every piece of their gear to ensure they use the most suitable equipment for their prey and the various environments found in Hunting Simulator 2. Side-by-side or over/under shotguns, bolt-action or lever-action rifles with trigger guard, elastic ranged weapons... over 75 official weapons and accessories as well as 90 clothing items from the sport's specialist brands have been immaculately recreated: Browning, Winchester, Verney Carron, Bushnell, Kryptek and many more!
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New SD GUNDAM G GENERATION CROSS RAYS DLC

Added Dispatch Mission Set 3 is now available on Steam, offering new DLC for the Windows edition of SD GUNDAM G GENERATION CROSS RAYS, a mechanized RPG from BANDAI NAMCO and TOM CREATE. Here's a new trailer, and here's word on how this recalls black history, which has nothing to do with Black History Month:
Spanning more than three decades of lore from the legendary Gundam series, SD GUNDAM G GENERATION CROSS RAYS lets players relive the most iconic moments from the intense mecha series, and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. has posted a new video that outlines a new set of missions in the Added Dispatch Mission Set 3, available now. The new content in this pack includes a mission from the 1997 series, Turn A Gundam, entitled “The Return of Black History Mission.” The mission refers back to the seminal period of the Gundam universe known as “Black History”* and features new characters with their own accompanying abilities.
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Evening Tech Bits

Dota 2 Bans 40K Over Matchmaking Abuse

A tweet from DOTA 2 reveals Valve has banned over 40,000 accounts for abusing matchmaking in Dota 2 (thanks PC Gamer via Yiddish). They don't offer details on the problem, but the Dota 2 Reddit has frequent posts about high level players creating smurf accounts and making life miserable for lower-level players as they climb through the ranks. Word is these are Steam game bans, as well as simple matchmaking bans:
We have banned over 40,000 accounts for players who were found abusing matchmaking. These bans will now appear as game bans in Steam as well as being matchmaking bans in Dota 2.

Activision Blizzard Requested Their GeForce NOW Exit

A post on the NVIDIA GeForce Forums explains that the removal of Activision Blizzard games reported yesterday from GeForce NOW was at the publisher's request (thanks VG247). Their wording suggests these titles may return, but for now the future of playing Activision Blizzard games in the cloud is up in the air. Here's word:
As we take GeForce NOW to the next step in its evolution, we’ve worked with publishers to onboard a robust catalog of your PC games.

This means continually adding new games, and on occasion, having to remove games – similar to other digital service providers.

Per their request, please be advised Activision Blizzard games will be removed from the service. While unfortunate, we hope to work together with Activision Blizzard to reenable these games and more in the future.

In addition to the hundreds of games currently supported, we have over 1,500 games that developers have asked to be on-boarded to the service. Look for weekly updates as to new games we are adding.

Original People Can Fly Developers Have Flown

Adrian Chmielarz tweets about the current staff at Polish developer People Can Fly, the studio he helped found (thanks DSOGaming). Epic Games acquired a controlling interest in the studio back in 2007, and Adrian explains that by now, none of the original staff remains:
I expect to see a lot of this in the future... TBC: Painkiller/Bulletstorm PCF and #Outriders PCF are almost two different studios. None of the creatives behind the old titles is there anymore. Best of luck to the current team! -- but I just wanted to set the record straight.

Conan Chop Chop Delayed Again

Publisher Funcom and developer Mighty Kingdom announce another delay to Conan Chop Chop, saying this hack-and-slash rogueite is now expected in Q2 of this year. This game, once thought to be an April Fools joke, was delayed once already, and was most recently expected on February 25th. How word is Chop Chop will land in the shop shop sometime after March. Here's word:
“We are almost at the finish line. The additional time is to ensure that the game is optimized for online multiplayer, and to give us a chance to add some polish here and there. It’s basically all about getting that final Chop in place,” says Mighty Kingdom CEO Philip Mayes, adding that “This isn’t merely a one-chop game. This is Conan Chop Chop, and that necessitates extra attention to detail.”

Conan Chop Chop was cheekily announced on April 1st, 2019, and was perceived to be an April Fools’ Day joke. The hack and slash rogue-lite was then unveiled as a real game during E3, where press and influencers got the first hands-on preview. Conan Chop Chop will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
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PC Dog Duty in Spring

SOEDESCO Publishing and Zanardi and Liza announce that real-time tactics game Dog Duty will graduate from Early Access on Steam this spring, or Q2 to not be northern hemisphere-centric. Word is the game will also come to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch at that time. Here's a new Announcement Trailer with a look at the game, and here's a description of what it shows: "Control a squad of misfits as they go up against some evil bigwig Octopus Commander and his army who are threatening world-peace. In this fun, fast-paced Real Time Tactics game, you go into combat and use guerrilla warfare to eliminate all octo-scum. Fight on top of your moving vehicle as you go from island to island to liberate outposts and defeat wicked bosses in their crazy octo-machines. Wreck those squids up, but beware, they’re well-armed." Here is an outline of what has changed as this has worked its way through Early Access:
During its Early Access period on Steam, Dog Duty has already received several huge updates. With feedback from the community, Zanardi & Liza worked hard on further improving the game. They have added new playable characters and enemies. Players can now assemble a squad of 3 out of 8 playable characters. Zanardi & Liza have also completely revamped the UI, adding more dialogues and encounters with both friendly and enemy NPCs. Via a whole new radio deploy system, players can engage with conquered and enemy outposts. For example, players now receive taunting messages from outposts that have not been conquered yet. The Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One version will also be released with these updates.
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Out of the Blue

My recent post about being dropped again by the Amazon affiliate program prompted renewed calls for a Blue's News Patreon. Since advertising revenue is not supporting the site, it seems the time is upon us for the first steps and launch a pilot program. Patreon is something Frans and I have been discussing for some time, and our planned rewards for patrons include an ad-free version of the site. But implementing and testing this is not ready to happen yet, as it has taken a back-seat to our ongoing responsive redesign, which is still being completed. Also, since I do not have firm ideas about what sort of payments would seem appropriate, experimentation before things take a final form makes sense. Patreon suggests three supporter tiers starting at a minimum of $3.00/month. So I'll start things off by asking for feedback on what everyone thinks about that, what would be appropriate for higher tiers, and what you might eventually expect in return. It may be farfetched to imagine paying more than that basic starting price. Especially for now, since to begin, aside from supporter designations in the forums, self-satisfaction will be the main reward for every tier. But if some of you are in a position to comfortably go above and beyond, it will probably be a big factor in how successful this will be towards a self-sustaining Blue's News. So please feel free to express thoughts on Patreon, pricing tiers, and rewards in the forums or by email. And a big thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in helping in this way.

Patronizing Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Play: Minesweeper Classic Online.
Link: Westminster Dog Show 2020: Breed results, winners, standard poodle wins Best in Show. Somewhere Gunnar-man is smiling.
Stories: Con men scam $1 million from isolated Mennonite craftsman by claiming to be Illuminati. Waiting for my cut. Thanks Yiddish.
Angela Hewitt's rare Fazioli piano dropped by movers.
Disneyland raises ticket prices, breaking the $200-a-day mark.
Science: NASA Prepares for Moon and Mars With New Addition to Its Deep Space Network.
Media: THE FRENCH DISPATCH - Official Trailer. New Wes Anderson.
Doctor Reacts to Reckless Medical Memes.
LAURA DERN.
Auctions: Hockney painting makes splash, sells at auction for $30M. More of a footnball man myself. Thanks Max.
Follow-up: Covid-19: The new coronavirus disease now officially has a name. Thanks RedEye9.
How novel coronavirus spread across the world – visual explainer. Thanks RedEye9.
Got A Cold? A Body Of Research Shows Zinc Supplements Can Help. Thanks RedEye9.
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