Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 09, 2020

New Epic Games Store Freebies Include The Killing Floor 2

The Killing Floor 2 is now available on the Epic Games Store, and in celebration, Tripwire Interactive's first-person shooter is being offered for free. This is now available alongside the other two giveaways previously announced for this week: Lifeless Planet and The Escapists 2, the latter of which is now available for free after a bit of a delay. Any or all three of these games is yours to keep if you grab your copies over the next seven days. After that the new giveaway will take effect, which they reveal will be Torchlight II. Here's word on this week's three freebies:
In KILLING FLOOR 2, players descend into continental Europe after it has been overrun by horrific, murderous clones called Zeds that were created by rogue elements of the Horzine Corporation. 6-player Co-Op & 12-player VS Zed-slaughtering mayhem.

Lifeless Planet: PREMIER EDITION - While seeking life on a distant planet, an astronaut discovers an abandoned Russian town. He suspects his mission is a hoax until a mysterious young woman saves him from a strange and deadly phenomenon...

The Escapists 2: Risk it all to breakout from the toughest prisons in the world. Explore the biggest prisons yet! You’ll have to live by the prison rules, attending roll call, doing prison jobs and following strict routines; all the while engineering your bid for freedom!

Half-Life: Alyx - Final Hours Released; Details Half-Life 3 and Other Cancelled Games

Half-Life: Alyx - Final Hours is now available on Steam, offering an "interactive storybook" from Geoff Keighley with an inside look at Valve Software, culminating in the release of Half-Life: Alyx, their recent VR game. There are a few revelations within, as this discusses a bunch of projects that were cancelled over the years. IGN has a summary, saying the arrested developments include five Half-Life games, one of which was internally being called Half-Life 3 and another that was to be a third installment in the Left 4 Dead series. There's also a mention of the future, repeating Valve's ambition to create a new non-VR installment in the Half-Life series and a vague mention of a "top secret project" that's been in development since 2018. They say not all the cancelled Half-Life projects are explicitly mentioned, offering this rundown of aborted games:

  • Half-Life 3: Created in the Source 2 engine and drawing some gameplay inspiration from Left 4 Dead, the project known as Half-Life 3 would have used procedural generation between hand-crafted story moments to create a more replayable game. For instance, the game would generate a building and an objective (such as rescuing a prisoner), then create a route through it and fill the building with enemies, meaning that section would always play out differently. The team went as far as scanning Frank Sheldon, the actor whose likeness was used for the series' G-Man. However the Source 2 engine was unfinished, and the project "didn't get very far" before it was dropped. It was in development for around a year between 2013 and 2014.
  • Left 4 Dead 3: An open world game set in Morocco and potentially featuring hundreds of zombies at a time, this was also deemed unworkable because of the unfinished Source 2.

Continue here to read the full story.

Sony Buys Epic Stake

CNBC reports that Sony has bought a minority stake in Epic Games. Word is the new $250 million investment expands upon their existing relationship. Interestingly, this creates one degree of separation between Sony, a Japanese company, and Tencent, the Chinese company that also owns a share of Epic. Here's word:
“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations,” Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said in a statement Thursday. “There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite.”

“Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Soda Dungeon 2 Released

Soda Dungeon 2 is now available for Windows, macOS, and mobile, offering a return to this carbonated turn-based dungeon crawler. The PC edition is available on Steam, and like the original this is free-to-play. Here's the Launch Trailer and here are the bubbly details:
The sequel to the much-loved turn-based dungeon crawler, Soda Dungeon 2 gives the original winning formula a bold new twist of flavor. Featuring brand-new adventures, a cast of twisted enemies, and mountains of loot, Soda Dungeon 2 is a fresh new can of sparkling absurdity for fans and newcomers to crack open and enjoy.

Soda Dungeon 2 sees players recruiting a team of intrepid adventurers to raid dungeons on their behalf. Using loot found during each trek into the dungeon, players will develop their town and attract braver and stronger adventurers to explore increasingly brutal areas of the dungeon and the dangers which lurk within.

Those familiar to Soda Dungeon will appreciate the return of a laid-back approach to dungeoneering, alongside a completely reinvented adventure featuring bigger, badder bosses and the same signature brand of humour which made the original game a cult favourite. With a core gameplay hook that is as approachable as it is deep, Soda Dungeon 2 will have veterans and newcomers alike thirsty for more.

Continue here to read the full story.

Remothered: Broken Porcelain Rescheduled

It turns out the release plans for Remothered: Broken Porcelain have been broken, as Modus Games is now expected on October 20th, rather than August 25th, as the previously announced. They explain this fully in a blog post and provide us with this summary:
After much consideration, we’ve reached a decision with the team at Stormind Games to delay Remothered: Broken Porcelain’s release until Oct. 20 of this year. We are incredibly excited to invite players into this wonderfully realized chapter of the Remothered story, but it’s important that we deliver the experience fans deserve. Having additional time for polish and to accommodate unanticipated longer timeframes due to the current global situation will help us do exactly that.

We cannot thank the fans of Remothered enough for their patience and the passionate enthusiasm they’ve shared for Remothered: Broken Porcelain, and we look forward to seeing their reactions when they play the game later this year.

Jessika Demo

Developer Tritrie Games and publisher Assemble Entertainment announce an August 25th release date for Jessika (obligatory musical interlude). Those interested in checking out this FMV investigation game need not wait that long, however, as there's now a playable demo on Steam. Here's the game's previously released Announcement Trailer and here's a description:
In this full motion video mystery adventure you are part of a group that specializes in processing digital footprints of deceased people - all on behalf of the relatives. What at first seems to be a job like any other quickly develops into a dark drama with twists and turns. All you need is your laptop and some basic background info about the “victim” – in this case it’s all about Jessika. Access her database and browse her files by typing different search terms. These will give you access to video clips, audio files, notes, and news articles. Share those with the client and your colleagues to dig even deeper. Use your savvy and combine the facts to unfold the true story of Jessika.
Continue here to read the full story.

Scrapnaut Announced

Developer RockGame announces Scrapnaut, a base-building game with a steampunk theme that's coming to Early Access on Steam before the end of this year. Here's a trailer showing off some of the game's top-down action, and here's the elevator pitch:
Scrapnaut is a top-down, base building survival game with steampunk elements. Explore an open world with different biomes, take care of oxygen, manage your farms, generate electricity, build your home and much more!
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Tech Bits

Tropico 6 Gets New DLC and Free Weekend

Lobbyistico is now available on Steam, offering the latest DLC for Tropico 6, the latest installment of this island dictator strategy series for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This add-on allows your banana republic to join the EU while introducing lobbyists and their signature corruption to the game. Publisher Kalypso Media and developer Limbic Entertainment will celebrate the release by offering the chance to try the game for free this weekend. Here's a Lobbyistico Trailer and here's the plan:
Tropico 6 is free to try this weekend for all Steam users. Unanimously praised by critics as the greatest, most attractive dictator simulator of all time, we thought it would benefit everyone to share in its glory, and we look forward to welcoming a host of talented new players, with big brains, to the shores of the republic.

Additionally, Lobbyistico, Tropico 6's third DLC, is out now and it's a great DLC - amazing DLC if you look at a long lineage of amazing content made by a very smart company. "Incredible DLC" - it's always been said, and that's no surprise, really. The appearance of DLCs like this one is rare, but when they do arrive, they come in the best packages. "The best DLCs for the best people", we say, because those people and us and companies like that have everything they want in life. More content and more DLCs, really. Bigger and better than anybody else.
Continue here to read the full story.

PUBG Discord Reporting System

A post on Reddit discusses how cheating in PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS can be reported through the official Discord for the battle royale shooter (thanks PCGamesN). Just bear in mind that snitches get stitches. Here's how this works:
Cheating is a problem that affects the entire community. The problem requires a holistic solution of game design changes, automated systems, and player reporting. While we will continue to invest significant resources internally, we also receive kind and heartfelt requests from players who want to do their part to improve the PUBG player community. With those players in mind, we are announcing the Community Anti-Cheat Initiative, a specific channel in Discord which gives players the ability to submit reports via the PUBG Discord. This channel will be opened soon after the application period closes - read on for more info on how to apply.

Is this a replacement for in-game reporting?
No. In-game reporting systems will always be the most efficient means to report players. These systems train our machine learning algorithms and are critical to ensuring efficient automated banning. However, even with the best automated systems, with millions of players some slip through the cracks. Although Community Anti-Cheat will be less efficient in terms of quantity, it is a more efficient way to ensure that players like this are identified.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Adds Content

Capcom announces Title Update 4 is now live in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, adding new content to their expanded action/RPG. This free patch adds two new monsters, a new seasonal event, along with various other changes. The full patch notes can be found here along with the recent video developer diary on the topic. Here's an overview:
Title Update 4 is available now and marks the return of Alatreon, the Blazing Black Dragon, in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. This legendary Elder Dragon’s appearance is sure to challenge even the most seasoned Hunters… but it’s not all we have in store for this update. Summer is heating up with a lively seasonal event, and a new Variant has been discovered: Frostfang Barioth!

[Alatreon, the Symbol of Destruction]
Unlike any other monster known to the Guild, Alatreon has the unique ability to switch its elemental attributes at will! These elemental states—Fire Active, Ice Active, Dragon Active—will change Alatreon’s elemental attack powers as well as its weaknesses, so you’ll have to strategize your equipment loadouts with your teammates if you hope to survive this hunt.
Continue here to read the full story.

New GeForce Drivers and Death Stranding Bundle

NVIDIA announces the release of new WHQL-certified version 451.67 Windows drivers for GeForce graphics cards. These are the game-ready drivers for Death Stranding, which is due for Windows next week. They also provide support for Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition and F1 2020. They also announce they are now offering the DEATH STRANDING Embark On Your Journey bundle, which includes a free copy of the game with qualifying hardware purchases. Here are the details:
NVIDIA, 505 Games and KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS today announced the DEATH STRANDING Embark On Your Journey bundle, where for a limited time, gamers will receive a Steam code for the PC Digital Download edition of DEATH STRANDING with the purchase of an eligible GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 2080 SUPER, 2080, 2070 SUPER, 2070, 2060 SUPER or 2060 GPU-equipped graphics card, laptop or desktop. The DEATH STRANDING Embark On Your Journey bundle starts today and will be available until July 29th, 2020. A list of participating retailers and etailers, and links to participating products and partners, is available on GeForce.com.

Viking Vengeance This Year

It's starting to feel like Vikings are the new zombies, isn't it? Romanian developer Lowpoly Interactive announces Viking Vengeance, "a narrative-driven rogue-lite dungeon crawler in which you use the power of the Gods to stop the Templar Oppression." This is planned for release on Steam in Q3 of this year. Inspired by Norse mythology, word is "the game takes place in an alternate history with many twists and new mechanics within a lowpoly cartoonish world." This video shows off what they mean. Here's a description:
An ARPG with Gods and rogue-lite elements.
Turn into avatars of Gods during battles and wield Thor’s hammer, use Loki's mischief skills or Odin's power to crush your enemies.

Features

  • Worship Norse Gods to earn their aid in battle and become their avatar.
  • Use Idol Statues and collect rune stones to receive more God Skills.
  • Unique level up system with a variety of skills, talents and items.
  • 2 different Afterlife paths to choose from when you die.
  • Execute enemies to restore your health or gain extra blood.
  • Use the environment and game physics in your favor.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding

Out of the Blue

We had an epic thunderstorm here yesterday. This was perfectly timed for when I was headed to the store, which was very unlucky considering how infrequently I get out these days. I saw a flash flood warning on my phone after I returned home, which did not surprise me after having to drive through some deep puddles on my way back. My phone was the only way to see such updates, as we also suffered a blackout along the way. We've had momentary power outages since we moved, but this was our first extended one. In all we were without electricity for a few hours. What was interesting was when we reported the blackout the power company estimated it would be back at 3:45 pm and the lights came back before the clock hit 3:50 pm, so they get very high marks for accuracy on that one.

Obituary: Mathematician Ronald Graham, 1935-2020. Thanks Slashdot via Ant.

Thunderous Links
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Links
Thanks RedEye9.

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