Archived News:

Monday, Feb 24, 2020 Happy Birthday Qtest (1996)

Riot Games Lawsuit Reset

GamesIndustry.biz has the latest on the lawsuit against Riot Games over gender-based discrimination at the League of Legends developer. Last month two California agencies stepped in to object to a tentative settlement of the suit, citing allegations of collusion that lead to a proposed defendant-friendly $10 million payout. Now word is the plaintiffs have new legal council, who have withdrawn their support for this settlement. They now have the following statement on this development from Riot Games:
In a statement responding to the news, a Riot Games spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz the League of Legends developer was committed to finding a fair outcome for all parties, one that is "justified by the underlying facts."

"We understand that the plaintiffs' new counsel needs adequate time to review the proposed settlement agreement and we respect that," said the spokesperson.

"That said, the analysis and discussions which led to the earlier proposed settlement were comprehensive and thorough, and we believe that the proposal was fair and adequate under the circumstances."

Riot also described the $400 million figure proposed by the DFEH as "outrageous," and said that any arguments put forward in favour of sum "can simply not be made in good faith."

"While we have acknowledged that there is work that we needed to do to better live up to our values, we have also made clear to our employees that we will defend ourselves against false narratives and unfair claims that do nothing to remedy any hardships of actual class members," they added.

EA Bans FIFA Pro from All EA Games and Services

EA FIFA pro player Kurt 'Kurt0411' Fenech tweeted out a notification he received that his EA Account is now banned for violation of their user agreement. As you can see, this link to his profile now returns a 404, not found error. In response he tweets that this is a conspiracy: "End of the day I have never said anything I shouldn’t have. This is just deeper than anyone thinks. They didn’t want me competing at events cos they were scared I’d win them, now I’m the 2nd biggest streamer of their game and they’re scared I’ll overtake their golden boy." IGN has details on what went down:
Fenech has been an outspoken critic of EA for the past two years, escalating in a series of social media attacks on the company and antagonizing EA employees. During one livestream Fenech was caught on camera calling an opponent a "son of a b**ch" who "can't beat me, even on this piece of trash game. F*** you, EA." He also spat on an EA logo stitched onto a scarf. EA responded to these repeated attacks by permanently banning Fenech from all FIFA esports competitions in 2019 and beyond.

Following Fenech’s ban, several EA FIFA staff Twitter accounts were hacked as part of a “targeted attack,” according to EA. The hacks were also part of a larger social media attack on EA staff members over criticism of FIFA 20. Fenech seemingly supported these hacks on his social media account.

Fenech has continued to attack EA on his various social media channels and video platforms like YouTube and Twitch. One popular attack on EA by Fenech is to call the company “rats” which was well-known enough for another FIFA streamer to utilize in a diss track against EA.

Overwatch's Experimental Triple Damage Mode Tomorrow

A new Overwatch Developer Update Video features Jeff Kaplan following up on his recent video announcing plans to add experimental cards to Overwatch to test new concepts for the multiplayer shooter. Jeff reveals the first of these will be a novel experiment mode called Triple Damage. He says if everything goes according to plan, this will launch tomorrow. The video is accompanied by this Q&A with Jeff and Michael Heiberg on the Overwatch Website discussing the concept. Here's a bit:
Heiberg: When you start having more damage and fewer tanks, the amount of lethality in the game changes. The amount of pressure on the people playing tanks—and the people trying to keep the tanks alive—changes.

Kaplan: With three damage players, it opened team compositions that we weren’t really seeing in the current game. We’ve seen compositions with two flanking characters, like Genji and Tracer, supported by aggressive tanks. We’ve also seen compositions with two snipers, like Widowmaker and Hanzo, with a more defensive playstyle. Now you might end up with two snipers but also have a flanker. So the game really plays differently. It’s a lot more chaotic. A lot more action-based.

It polarized the dev team. People tended to either hate it or be intrigued by it. Most people were cautiously optimistic, like, “Oh yeah, this could be really interesting.” But then we had people staunchly opposed to it who said, “This is so different, it puts too much pressure on the tank player, the game feels too lethal.”

We’re running experiments to see if we can balance our way out of those issues. Like, with the game feeling too lethal: certainly, the number of tanks that are present can be an influencing factor, but we could just as easily look at everybody’s damage and hit points and make adjustments there.
Continue here to read the full story.

RimWorld Expansion and Patch

A post on Steam announces a new Royalty expansion is now available for RimWorld, the recently released sci-fi colony simulator for Windows, macOS, and Linux (thanks Tessier). This comes alongside a new patch that updates the base game to version 1.1 with UI changes, new quests, improved ode management, and more. Here's a Royalty Launch Trailer and here's word on the expansion and the patch:
Free update to version 1.1
RimWorld's free 1.1 update is now live for all players! This update has been on the unstable branch for a week to smooth the transition for mods, and now it's the standard branch for everyone.

To see the full change log for this update, look at the original 1.1 announcement here.

RimWorld - Royalty released
RimWorld's new expansion RimWorld - Royalty is available!

See the trailer and full description on the RimWorld - Royalty Steam page here.
Continue here to read the full story.

4th Generation Warfare Early Access Next Month

Eversim announces March 5th as when 4th Generation Warfare will launch into Early Access. This is a trifle off from the February date that's currently on the Steam Listing for this strategy RPG that simulates 21st century warfare. Here's a recent announce trailer with a look at the game, and here is the overview from the description:
Fourth-Generation Warfare simulates warfare in the 21st century, which, in addition to the direct opposition of military forces, now includes espionage, international politics, cyberwarfare, media manipulation, and trade wars.
As the leader of a nation, dispatch and control your team of characters all around the world to destabilize your enemies and establish your supremacy.
All methods are fair game: hacking, sabotage, political interference, military strikes, corruption, treachery, assassinations, energy domination, data theft…
4GW turn-based game combines a strategy game with a role playing game.
Continue here to read the full story.

Disc Room Announced

Publisher Devolver Digital and developers Jan Willem Nijman & Kitty Calis (MINIT) and Terri Vellmann & Doseone (HIGH HELL) announce Disc Room. This may sound like that struggle we sometimes encounter when there's not enough drive space to install a new game, but it's actually an action game where you do battle with those titular discs. They call it: "an ultra-stylish expedition into the depths of an alien deathtrap, launching in 2020." Those stylized, hand-drawn graphics are shown off in this new trailer. Here's more on the game:
The year is 2089, and a giant disc has appeared in orbit of Jupiter. A crew of international scientists is formed in a desperate attempt to understand the mysterious secrets contained within.

Step into the oversized space suit of a brave but reluctant scientist and explore this sprawling slaughterhouse from outer space. Attempt to discover the method behind its madness as you are relentlessly chased down by intelligent alien saw blades amid a seemingly endless labyrinth of interconnected death chambers. Stay sharp in order to navigate this murderous maze, as the seemingly straightforward slaughter unfurls into far more puzzling complexity.
Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Sorry for the late update, I've been a little overwhelmed with the initial response to our new patronage campaign. Heartfelt thanks to the many of you who have volunteered your generosity. So this being overwhelmed is actually great news. Except for how it's put me a little behind, so there may be some news I still need to catch up with tomorrow. This leads to a point I should have made clearer, which is that updating users with their forum badges is a manual process, so it's possible that there will be occasional delays between signups and getting your badge, particularly if they come overnight. So if you do suffer such a delay, I hope you'll understand. It should never be too long, however, so if you think you've slipped between the cracks, don't hesitate to bring it to my attention. This all leads to Frans' latest post about the status of responsive conversion which includes information about changes to our login system, and options for supporters on how their status is displayed.

Link of the Day: Apollo 13 Views of the Moon in 4K.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker Early Access This Summer

Blackbird Interactive announces Hardspace: Shipbreaker as the project they first teased last month. This was actually unveiled late last week, so apologies for spacing on it at the time. The game will be a return to outer space for this studio comprising former members of Homeworld developer Relic Entertainment, who previously gave us Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and are also working on Homeworld 3. The game is expected to enter Early Access on Steam this summer. They outline their plans in this Steam post which includes an Early Access Reveal Trailer. You can also keep tabs on the project through its official website. Here's word:
Blackbird Interactive, the studio behind Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and the upcoming Homeworld 3, and Focus Home Interactive are pleased to announce Hardspace: Shipbreaker. With true-to-life physics and demolition effects, a sandbox of creative destruction lies before you this Summer on Steam Early Access. Put on your suit and get a first look of the life a space cutter in this

Early Access will launch with many features to discover, 2 classes of spaceship to salvage, multiple upgradeable salvaging tools and perks, and the first act of the story campaign. Over the course of the Early Access period, we are committed to releasing more spaceship classes, missions, daily challenges, leaderboards, modding support, and much more with the help of the Steam Early Access community.
Continue here to read the full story.

Project AETHER: First Contact Launches

Project AETHER: First Contact is now available on Steam, offering a tactical space shooter for Windows. You can see this in action in the Launch Trailer, which shows the player taking on fleets of enemy spacecraft in their hopped-up space suit. Here's a description of the game:
As a threat from beyond looms over the solar system, Project AETHER is ready to deploy! Take control of the powerful AETHER mech in this rhythmic and tactical space shooter which combines classic arcade-style twin-stick action with stunning 3D environments and an engaging sci-fi story!

Fight the alien threat across 9 unique levels, each with a powerful boss to defeat.

Customize your mech's loadout with an assortment of powerful weapons, including the rapid fire assault rifle, high impact railgun, concentrated particle beam, and more.
Continue here to read the full story.

Death and Taxes Released

There is nothing certain but death and taxes, so it is with great certainty that we announce the release of Death and Taxes for Windows, macOS, and Linux on Steam. This is a 2D, narrative adventure from Placeholder Gameworks where you take on the cheery role of the Grim Reaper. This does not involve playing chess, Battleship, Clue, tabletop football, nor even Twister. It does, however, put you in charge of life-or-death decisions, and all the ramifications thereof. Here's a Gameplay Trailer and here's more:
Death and Taxes puts you into the role of the Grim Reaper - Death - on an office job. The choices you make, your relationship with your boss and the way you play will determine whether you will save the world or condemn it to damnation. Meet a cast of oddball characters, foil plots to destroy the world and dress your Reaper to impress, all while experiencing a world in beautiful hand-painted 2D watercolor style.

Death and Taxes is a game in the vein of narrative-based indie titles, such as "Papers, Please", "Reigns", "Beholder" and "Animal Inspector", to name a few.
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

  • PC Gamer - Corporate satire in games isn't funny anymore. Thanks Yiddish.
    "I quickly found the 'aren't big companies bad, haha' brand of jokes tiresome. Meanwhile, Journey to the Savage Planet's jests rubbed me up the wrong way, in precisely the same way. Like the factory workers of Edgewater, the explorers scouring the galaxy for humanity's next habitable planet on behalf of Kindred Aerospace are also treated as expendable property. After a laundry list of potential risks its staff could contract, ranging from nausea, feelings of emptiness, and death, travellers are urged in the event of an emergency to 'contact your Kindred representative as soon as possible' with the caveat: 'current rescue times exceed six months'."

Out of the Blue

Okay, as recently promised, we have launched a pilot support campaign for Blue's News after many of you raised the topic when we were once again dropped by Amazon's affiliate program. This page has all the details on what this is all about, much of which is covered by the rest of this post as well. It explains our mission for this: "Your support will allow us to remain completely independent from the influence of game companies, media conglomerates, advertisers, and sponsored content."

Funds are being collected through PayPal and Patreon, and they work the same way, though if it affects your choice, it looks like PayPal takes less of a cut. You can sign up as a recurring supporter for USD$3, USD$5, or USD$8/month. This will entitle you to a forum badge designating you a bronze, silver, or gold supporter, respectively. You will also have the option of hiding your level of support or hiding your support altogether. Our informal poll revealed a general sentiment that readers are looking for a way to support the site on an ongoing basis without other tiered rewards, so that's how this is being handled for now. Also, while many of you use ad blockers already (one of the reasons this is necessary), we will add optional ad-blocking for contributors as quickly as possible. Those of you willing to sign on before that feature goes live will receive an extra designation as "founding" supporters. Update: Please be aware that forum badge assignment is a manual process. I handle these as quickly as possible, but under some circumstances there may be a delay.

You can also make one-time contributions through a separate PayPal link. You can also use Patreon to do this by pledging however much you want and cancelling your support after that goes through. Here's a note about that: Patreon requires a permanent decision up front of whether or not patrons get charged right away upon pledging. But recurring charges always come on the first of the month. So even though there are only a few days left until March, since this option cannot be changed, we have chosen to allow them to collect this upfront payment to allow for one-time pledges going forward. But everyone will still get a full 30 days membership for each monthly pledge regardless of their start date. So pledging today and getting charged on March 1st covers you until April 24th. Those who make one-time payments will still get a supporter badge for the length of time appropriate to the amount they pledge.

Feel free to ask questions or leave comments about this in the forums or by email, and sincere thanks to all of you who have expressed a desire to directly support the site in this manner.

Obituary: Katherine G. Johnson, the Groundbreaking NASA Mathematician Featured in Hidden Figures, Has Died at 101.

Supported Links: Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.
Link: Fans grossed out by sex scene on 'The Walking Dead.' Thanks Yiddish.
Science: Physics undergrads crunched numbers for Star Trek’s tribble problem.
Here's NASA's new idea to get its stubborn Martian drill to work. Thanks Acleacius.
Nuclear weapons tech could allow scientists to 'hear' tornadoes. Thanks Yiddish.
Media: Avalanche in Colorado partially buries snowmobiler in 'terrifying' video. Thanks Acleacius.
Mesmerizing Kinetic Sculptures.
Aquatilis-Under The Ice.
Follow-up: "Watchmen" Reclassified As Limited Series. May mean more is coming.
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