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Sunday, Jul 05, 2020

Mortal Shell Open Beta

Open beta testing is now underway for Mortal Shell, a Windows action/RPG from developer Cold Symmetry and publisher Playstack. This was planned as a closed beta, but they tweet it's now open due to popular demand: "We expected demand but nothing like this. We really didn’t want so many people to feel left out. We're delighted to open the beta for everyone on PC, starting now." You can get your copy from the Epic Games Store, where word is: "You are invited to be among the first to play the Mortal Shell Beta. This is a passion project from a small indie team united by one vision: to return people to that familiar, satisfying pain of a traditional soulslike - deliberate, measured, and merciless." Here's more:
This Beta build allows you to possess two Mortal Shells - Harros and Tiel - to better understand their subtleties in combat. This Beta does not include spoilers (we decided to keep the story a secret for just a little longer) and we have deliberately cordoned-off much of the open sprawling marshland of Fallgrim to keep you focused.

Before we leave you, a warning: Mortal Shell was made for battle-hardened soulslike fans. It is vindictive design, assembled with spite. It will take the best among you around an hour to complete it. For everyone else, expect your progress to be much slower.

Team Fortress 2 Classic 2.0 Released

The TF2 Classic Website announces the release of a new version 2.0 of Team Fortress 2 Classic, a community-created modification to recreate some of the past glory of Valve's multiplayer shooter. Word is: "Previous version downloads of Team Fortress 2 Classic have been removed, and the project has shifted direction." That new direction is a reimagining of the 2008-2009 version of Team Fortress 2, and it comes alongside The Death & Taxes update, which adds new maps and weapons. Along the way the team has stripped out deathmatch, saying this is now being developed by Compucolor Pictures as a standalone game titled Team Deathmatch Classic. This post has all the details on what to expect from this release. Here's a summary from their FAQ:
Team Fortress 2 Classic is a re-imagining of the 2008-2009 era of the original Team Fortress 2, of which is what we consider the "Classic Era", featuring old features that were scrapped and worked upon, or new content such as new weapons and gamemodes. Such gamemodes consist of original core TF2 gamemodes ranging from Capture the Flag to Special Delivery, our own additions such as VIP and Domination, or even the addition for two new teams in several existing modes.

League of Legends Versus Griefers

A post on the League of Legends Website offers a "Behavioral Systems July Update," discussing how Riot is upping their game in combating griefers in League of Legends (thanks Dot Esports via Neutronbeam). The two behaviors they are focusing on are players who go AFK or leave and those who intentionally feed. Here are their planned next steps:
The following three projects will be the next things to come out after Champ Select Reporting and Muting:

  • It’s been some time since we’ve updated the Summoner Code, which is our definition and values around what's expected of League players. We'll more clearly call out situations that are viewed as disruptive, and more clearly indicate the consequences of those actions. Solidifying our commitments and guidelines as a foundation for the League of Legends experience will allow us to more cleanly tie solutions to disruptive situations that occur.
  • We’re developing enhanced automated detection methodology specifically for intentional feeding and idle/afk behaviors to confidently verify when these behaviors have occurred—as close to the occurrence as possible.
  • Though we’re working to directly improve these detection for these behaviors first, we’re also taking stock of the state of other behaviors and mapping out our next steps for improving detection there as well in the future.
  • We’re designing improvements to the actions that occur when we identify AFK behaviors. Those improvements will both consider what enhanced penalty actions mean for the game and assess how we can mitigate the impact an AFK has on you as a player.

WoW Server Merges

In a post on the World of Warcraft Forums, Blizzard explains they are planning some server merges in World of Warcraft to improve population density in the MMORPG (thanks GamesRadar+). Word is over the next two to three months lower-population realms will be relocated:
We’ve now completed a comprehensive study of realm populations for every realm in the world. Over the next 2-3 months, we’re going to connect the low-population realms to other existing realms. This process will take place during scheduled maintenance, connecting a few realms each week, until we’ve connected every low-population realm in every region to a substantially larger population of players.

As this project unfolds, we will post notices in advance of each week’s connections in the appropriate regions and languages. During each maintenance period, everything will be automatically combined for the affected realms. When maintenance is complete, players on affected realms will log into Battle for Azeroth and find that they’re now part of a larger connected-realm community. At the same time, we’ll merge the appropriate realm discussion forums.
Continue here to read the full story.

Free Game Jam Games from Criterion

Criterion Games announces the release of a half-dozen free games that are the output of their Summer Game Jam. They note they've been doing these internal jams for a while, and they sometimes spawn bigger projects: "We’ve been doing this for years, and it’s taken us to some really exciting places (fun fact: Star Wars Battlefront ROGUE ONE: X-Wing VR Mission was partly spawned from some early VR game jams!)." You can download the games from this page, and while they are offered completely free, they say if you like them they'd be delighted if you show your appreciation by making a donation to charity. The six games are:

Overcooked! 2 Adds Free Content

Team 17 announces the release of Suns Out, Buns Out, a new free content update for Overcooked! 2, their chaotic simulation of the culinary arts for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Here's a trailer, and here's what's on the menu:
Key Features:

  • New chefs: A new pair of lovable canine chefs are ready to help (or hinder) players in the heat of the kitchen
  • Summer recipes: Whether it’s cooling off with an ice cream float or staying healthy with a summer salad, chefs have two new dishes to rustle up
  • New levels: It wouldn’t be summer if you didn’t get to go on holiday, and Sun’s Out Buns Out takes you to five new destinations
  • Start the party: What’s better to start the summer than a parade? Expect fireworks, confetti, and floats to spice up your game

The Sun’s Out Buns Out update also sees the return of Carnival of Chaos’ sauce dispensers, as well as new hazards like fireworks, which might light up players’ kitchens (in all the wrong ways!)

Continue here to read the full story.

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Out of the Blue

We had a pleasant Independence Day. I made sausage & peppers and some burgers and we got to see fireworks from the comfort of our deck. This all worked out great, and certainly was easy. Here's hoping things turned out equally safely and well for you if you were celebrating the occasion.

Obituary: Pioneering James Bond and Doctor Who actor Earl Cameron dead at 102. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Celebratory Links
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Brunch Link

Science

Image

Media

Follow-up

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