Archived News:

Thursday, Sep 17, 2020

US Treasury Department Scrutinizing Riot and Epic over Tencent Connections

Following their actions against TikTok, word is the Trump administration is now scrutinizing companies with backing from Chinese conglomerate Tencent, including Epic Games and Riot. Bloomberg reports the details:
The Trump administration has asked gaming companies to provide information about their data-security protocols involving Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., people familiar with the matter said.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is chaired by the Treasury Department, has sent letters to companies, including Epic Games Inc., Riot Games and others, to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, owns Los Angeles-based Riot and has a 40% stake in Epic, which is the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Representatives for the companies declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond. The Treasury Department declined to comment.

The inquiry builds on the Trump administration’s heightened scrutiny of Chinese companies and their ties to U.S. firms -- a source of fresh tension with the Beijing government and a pillar of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Tencent’s American Depositary Receipts fell 2.4% to $66.66 on the news.

Get Football Manager 2020 for Free

A new era for Football Manager 2020 kicks off this week with the release of the association football/soccer game Epic Games Store. This starts with a bang, as the game is free to keep if you pick up your copy between now and next Thursday. Word is this version supports cross-platform play with the Steam edition. Here's word on the series:
Football Manager (FM) is the world's leading football management simulation title. With more than 50 countries to manage in and a database of over 800,000 players and staff it offers an incredibly detailed and immersive experience. In FM you make all of the key decisions, from signing (and selling) players through training, team selection and tactics as you take your team to the top of the footballing world while carving out your own philosophy and strengthening your club's identity. FM has grown to become more than just a game and has embedded itself in the football industry; the FM database is used by several clubs to help shape their recruitment strategies and thousands of professional footballers and backroom staff members are committed fans of the game. FM has become an integral part of modern fan culture; the game has not only enhanced the collective footballing knowledge of its players but has been the inspiration for several books, a stand-up comedy show and even a feature length documentary. For more information on Football Manager, visit www.footballmanager.com.

Get Watch Dogs 2 and Stick It To The Man! for Free

In addition to Football Manager 2020, Stick It To The Man! is now free as promised on the Epic Games Store as one of their latest giveaways. This is accompanied by another unannounced freebie, as you can also now get Watch Dogs 2 for free as well. All this week's giveaways are yours to keep as long as you claim your copies within the next seven days. After that RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition will become the next giveaway, perhaps to be accompanied by more unexpected surprises. Here's more on this week's gratis games:
Watch Dogs 2
Play as Marcus Holloway, a brilliant young hacker living in the birthplace of the tech revolution, the San Francisco Bay Area.
Team up with Dedsec, a notorious group of hackers, to execute the biggest hack in history; take down ctOS 2.0, an invasive operating system being used by criminal masterminds to monitor and manipulate citizens on a massive scale.

Explore the dynamic open-world, full of gameplay possibilities
Hack into every connected device and take control of the city infrastructure.
Develop different skills to suit your playstyle, and upgrade your hacker tools – RC cars, Quadcopter drone, 3D printed weapons and much more.
Stay seamlessly connected to your friends with a brand new co-op and adversarial multiplayer Watch Dogs experience.

Stick It To The Man!
Meet Ray, he lives in a world where everything is made out of paper and stickers. One day he has an accident and wakes up with a giant pink spaghetti arm sticking out of his brain. This gives him awesome powers and he can suddenly change the world around him by folding it, tearing it, pulling stickers off and sticking them elsewhere! And if that weren't enough, Ray can also read peoples minds! He is framed by ‘The Man’ with a crime he didn’t commit, and is on the run. Can you help to get Ray out of this sticky situation? Get ready to tear it, rip it and Stick it to the Man!

Fortnite Save the World macOS Support Ending

The Fortnite Website reveals that the Apple Epic legal feud is resulting in Epic being prevented from supporting Fortnite Save the World on Macs, so they are pulling the free-to-play battle royale for iOS. They say they are refunding cash transactions for Mac gamers:
Apple is preventing Epic from signing games and patches for distribution on Mac, which ends our ability to develop and offer Fortnite: Save the World for the platform. Specifically, our upcoming v14.20 release will cause bugs for players on v13.40, resulting in a very poor experience. Since we are no longer able to sign updates and release fixes for these issues, beginning September 23, 2020, Fortnite: Save the World will no longer be playable on macOS.

We are issuing a refund for all players who purchased any Save the World Founder’s or Starter Packs (including Upgrades) and played Save the World on macOS between September 17, 2019 and September 17, 2020. Additionally, any purchased V-Bucks spent on Llamas on macOS in this period will also be refunded. As of today, September 17, 2020, Save the World Starter Packs will no longer be available for purchase on macOS.
Continue here to read the full story.

Fortnite RTX Support Begins

With the release of new GeForce drivers today, Fortnite now supports NVIDIA RTX ray tracing. This trailer shows off what this adds to the game, and this post has details, including how to turn on ray tracing. Here's a bit:
WHAT IS RAY TRACING?
The advanced rendering capability of ray tracing allows new visual and lighting effects previously not possible in Fortnite. With our latest update, we’re delivering improved ambient occlusion, shadows, reflections, and real-time global illumination.

How’s it look? The side-by-side screenshots below show how supporting PCs can create lifelike reflections and shadows when ray tracing is enabled. Nvidia has also pulled together a ray-traced map in Creative to show off the new tech. Use this Island code to check it out: 9189-0518-5408.

Continue here to read the full story.

Disintegration Multiplayer Support Ending

Developer V1 Interactive announces they are phasing out multiplayer support for Disintegration, just three months after the release of their sci-fi first-person shooter with real-time strategy elements. This is a process that begins with today's removal of the in game store and will conclude two months from today with the full removal of multiplayer support. Their reason for the move is in a separate Multiplayer Sunsetting FAQ which says: "With Disintegration, we attempted to build a unique and compelling multiplayer experience for our players. We currently don’t have a significant audience in our multiplayer mode for a compelling experience for our players, so we’ve made the collective decision to sunset the multiplayer support." Here's the announcement:
We have made the difficult decision to remove Disintegration’s multiplayer modes from the game across all platforms. This will be done in phases over the coming months, starting today with the removal of the in-game store, and will conclude on November 17th with the full removal of multiplayer. The single player campaign will remain fully playable moving forward.

From both the development team at V1 Interactive and publishing group at Private Division, we stand by the creative risks taken to launch such a unique, genre-bending game created by this small but talented and passionate team. While our player base showed interest in the single player campaign, the game unfortunately struggled to build a significant audience necessary for a compelling multiplayer experience. After weighing options, we have collectively made the decision to sunset the multiplayer support.

We believe the video game industry needs constant innovation, and we will continue to take risks, follow creative visions, and support new ideas.

To everyone who has played Disintegration: we thank you.

Hades Leaves Early Access

Hades is now out of Early Access, and is now officially available on the Epic Games Store and Steam. This doesn't exactly represent hell freezing over, but the game did first enter Early Access in December 2018 when the Epic Games Store first opened. Here's a v1.0 Gameplay Showcase Trailer with a look at the release version and this post on Steam has more on the launch, including a v1.0 Launch Update Patch Notes Dramatic Reading Trailer, which is a first as far as we know. Finally, there's this v1.0 Launch Trailer. Here's word on Supergiant's plans for their action/RPG: "We put everything we've got into v1.0 of Hades! As always around our game launches or Major Updates, we'll be monitoring this launch closely to ensure it's as problem-free as possible for all players, deploying patches as needed to address any issues. Once we're sure things are in a good spot, our small team will be taking a break to recharge, and plan what's next. Looking further ahead to 2021 and beyond, we'll be excited to say more about what's in store for us just as soon as we're ready." Here's an overview of the game:
Hades is a god-like rogue-like dungeon crawler that combines the best aspects of Supergiant's critically acclaimed titles, including the fast-paced action of Bastion, the rich atmosphere and depth of Transistor, and the character-driven storytelling of Pyre.

BATTLE OUT OF HELL
As the immortal Prince of the Underworld, you'll wield the powers and mythic weapons of Olympus to break free from the clutches of the god of the dead himself, while growing stronger and unraveling more of the story with each unique escape attempt.

UNLEASH THE FURY OF OLYMPUS
The Olympians have your back! Meet Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and many more, and choose from their dozens of powerful Boons that enhance your abilities. There are thousands of viable character builds to discover as you go.
Continue here to read the full story.

Empire of Sin in December, Preorders Underway

Paradox Interactive announces a December 1st release date for Empire of Sin, and they are now accepting preorders for this prohibition era wise-guy strategy game designed by John and Brenda Romero of Romero Games. Preorder customers will receive The Good Son Pack as a bonus, which adds an exclusive in-game mission and gangster. There's also a Deluxe Edition and a Premium Edition with more extra content. You can preorder the game through the Empire of Sin Website which leads to Steam for the Windows and macOS editions. Here's the preorder trailer. Here's more on this offer you can't refuse:
Empire of Sin, the strategy game from Romero Games and Paradox Interactive, puts you at the heart of the ruthless criminal underworld of 1920s Prohibition-era Chicago. It’s up to you to hustle, charm and intimidate your way to the top of the pile and do whatever it takes to stay there. This character-driven, noir-inspired game puts players smack dab in the glitz and glamor of the roaring 20s, all while working behind the scenes in the gritty underbelly of organized crime.
Continue here to read the full story.

Dota 2 Immortal Treasure III

The Dota 2 Blog announces the release of Immortal Treasure III and that Valve is extending the battle pass for their MOBA until October 9th:
Immortal Treasure III is now available, featuring all-new items for Pugna, Clockwerk, Oracle, Treant, Gyrocopter, and Lich.

In addition to these items, each of these treasures you open also offers increasing odds of receiving a rare reward of 50 Battle Pass levels, a very rare Golden version of the Pugna item, or the ultra rare Phoenix Wings. As always, there is a cosmically rare chance you’ll discover a Divine Emblem.

The Battle Pass will be extended for 3 more weeks, until October 9th, with the results of the Arcana vote revealed at that time (hint: it’s a purple melee carry that can cross distances with ease). During this final stretch, each Battle Pass owner can purchase up to two bundles of 60 levels at a 30% discount.

Head over to the Battle Pass page for a preview of the new items and custom effects featured in the treasure.

HyperBrawl Tournament Next Month

HyperBrawl Tournament will launch for PC and consoles on October 20th, a bit later than the summer release window Milky Tea Studios announced for their arcade sports brawler. The Windows edition is headed to Steam. The story for the game is set by this Release Date Trailer. Here's more on this game they describe as "a beautiful and fast-paced PvP experience":
Smash, brawl and score your way to victory in relentless, high-adrenaline, 1-4 PvP arena battles. Master the legendary HyperCurve, granting you complete control of the ball to outmanoeuvre opponents and score awesome goals. Or deploy the HyperForce, enabling you to launch your opponents out of the arena with its devastating, game-changing power. In a competitive mix of sports and brawling, players assemble their team with a combination of heroes and weapons of their unique choosing to bring into the arena as they fight for control of the ball, throwing it into the opposition’s goal to outscore their opponents. Outside of that, there are no rules so don’t be afraid to fight dirty. It’s not just about locking horns though as the key to victory is mastering the HyperCurve, and using the HyperForce at the most critical moments, to turn the tide of the match.
Continue here to read the full story.

Brawlhalla Season 2

Ubisoft now offers Battle Pass Season 2 for Brawlhalla, their cross-platform brawler. The premium version of the pass can be purchased on this page, which offers this trailer. Here's the battle plan:
Players progress through the Season 2 Battle Pass by earning Gems through General, Daily and Weekly missions, increasing their Battle Pass Tier. One Daily Mission is granted to each player every day, with the ability to store up to three Daily Missions at a time. Once a Day, players can recycle a Daily Mission for a new one, while Weekly Missions open each new week of the Battle Pass and will not expire until the end of the Battle Pass Season. If players want to progress faster through the tiers, they can unlock them immediately for 35 Mammoth Coins each.
Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Roger Angell Turns One Hundred. Happy birthday to my favorite baseball writer. Thanks Neutronbeam.

New AMD and NVIDIA Drivers

New version 456.38 GeForce Game Ready Windows Drivers are now online for NVIDIA GeForce accelerators. These add support for their spiffy new RTX 3080 and 3090 GPUs and for Fortnite RTX, Halo 3: ODST, and Mafia: The Definitive Edition. Also, new Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.9.1 Drivers are now available for AMD graphics cards. These offer a number of fixes, including performance improvements for Project CARS 3. Here are some release notes for each set of drivers:
GeForce Release Highlights

Game Ready for Fortnite RTX
This new Game Ready Driver provides support for Fortnite’s dramatic new update which adds ray-traced effects, NVIDIA DLSS, NVIDIA Reflex, and a custom RTX map. In addition, this release also provides optimal day-1 support for Halo 3: ODST and Mafia: The Definitive Edition.
Continue here to read the full story.

Free Total War Saga: TROY Hero Pack Next Week

SEGA announces they will be giving away a new Amazons hero pack next week for Total War Saga: TROY, the latest installment in Creative Assembly's historical strategy series. This will be on the Epic Games Store starting on September 24th and will be yours to keep if you pick it up before October 8th. The original game is required, but this should apply to a lot of people, as the game was also free when it was released last month for free on the Epic Games Store and over seven million copies were handed out. Here's what this will offer:
The Amazons Hero Pack will be free-to-keep if claimed between the 24th of September until the 8th of October, and introduces two of the fiercest female heroes of the age to A Total War Saga: TROY. Take on the role of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, or her fierce warrior-queen sister Penthesilea and carve out a new legacy for your tribes. Both characters welcome new and unique campaigns, as well as a diverse host of features including the first female-only Total War army roster and the first horde faction for a Total War Saga: TROY.

Medieval Dynasty Early Access

Early Access has begun for Medieval Dynasty and Toplitz Productions' Windows world-building game is available on Steam. Take a look at the LAUNCH TRAILER for an idea of what this is all about, and here's word on why this will hopefully not a feudal effort:
Europe in the early Middle Ages -- Nobles and clergy rule and the trade between the nations brings prosperity as well as envy, distrust, and greed. Military conflicts are everywhere and whole continents are changing.

In Medieval Dynasty, you take on the role of a young man who has fled the war and wants to take his fate into his own hands. From being alone, inexperienced and poor you will develop into a master of many skills, a leader of your community and the founder of a prosperous dynasty which is meant to last and expand for generations to come.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ragnorium Early Access

Ragnorium is now available in Early Access on Steam, offering first crack as this Windows planet recolonization simulator "spanning eons of time." Here's an Early Access Trailer and here's word on the game from developer Vitali Kirpu/Pixel Piracy and publisher Devolver Digital:
The Steam Early Access launch introduces players to the base game loop of creating cloned colonists, preparing the dropships with cargo, and building out a base-level colony with a wide variety of materials and equipment from the first era of technology. Over time, new eras of technology will be added bringing new materials and equipment into the fold.

Ragnorium had been quietly available in ‘Earliest Access’ on Steam and only accessible through a direct link and not searchable on Steam. This two month run in a private release window allowed a few thousand players to test and provide feedback for updates to visuals, sound design, UI, and overall presentation before today’s debut to the wider Steam audience.

The launch into Steam Early Access marks the beginning of a content roadmap that will include more colonist types, planet maps, items, resources, characters and boss encounters. Developer Vitali Kirpu’s iterative design process lets Ragnorium benefit from rapid feedback and guidance from the community about the overall direction of the game and its mechanics - something that helped produce significant changes in the private Earliest Access phase.
Continue here to read the full story.

Dog Duty Reports for Duty

The dog days of summer are almost over in the northern hemisphere, but they've just begun for Dog Duty, as this real-time tactics game is out of Early Access and now available for Windows, macOS, and consoles, with the PC edition offered through Steam. This is the output of two-person development studio Zanardi and Liza, and you can see its Commandos and GI Joe influences in the Launch Trailer. An interview on the SOEDESCO Website discusses the six-year process that's led to this moment. This post discusses what's new in version 1.0, so grab your clean-up bags and watch where you step as you read on:
Today is the day. Dog Duty was launched out of Early Access and v1.0 is now live! I want to thank you all for the support and trust you've given us during the Early Access period of Dog Duty. A lot has happened, and it is all thanks to your feedback! Thousands of bugs have been squashed, new enemies and vehicles were added and even a whole new game mode was implemented into the game! Now of course, this v1.0 comes with some patch notes, so here they are!

  • Added a brand new Horde mode map
  • Completed Horde Mode screens
  • Tweaks on horde calculations and challenge
  • Fixed issue that could halt boss wave on Horde Mode
  • Fixed collisions/map of Swamp's Armor Supply
  • Improvements on gamepad's target snapping
  • Added a very specific and secret character on Horde mode, that may be unlocked by doing something very specific ;)

I hope you'll all have fun with Dog Duty, and of course if there's any feedback you might still have, please let us know!

Continue here to read the full story.

The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos Released

The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos is now available for Windows and macOS, and this tactical RPG can be found on the Epic Games Store, GOG.com, and Steam. This game is based on a French audio comedy series and includes the voice acting of geek icon Felicia Day. It's available as both a Standard Edition as well as a Deluxe Edition with extra content. Here's a Launch Trailer and here's an outline of what the naheulbeuk is going on here:
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos is a turn-based tactical RPG chock-full of charm, humour and chaos. Leading a ragtag company of unlikely heroes, players will embark on an epic adventure through the dreadful dungeon of Naheulbeuk, utilising both “strength” and “smarts” to overcome the very worst that the evil lord Zangdar has to throw at them.

With a stellar voice cast lead by Felicia Day (The Guild, Geek & Sundry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos combines the fun, creativity and chaos of an epic fantasy tabletop campaign with the challenge of the very best tactical RPG games, delivering an adventure unlike anything you’ve played before.
Continue here to read the full story.

Forge and Fight! Early Access

Early Access is now underway on Steam for Forge and Fight!, a game that mixes crafting and combat, as you must create your own over-the-top weapon combinations to carry into battle. The Early Access Trailer takes a look at the concept and gameplay, teaching the lesson never to bring a sword-gun into a lightning-flamethrower fight. Here's what you need to know about this:
Enter the forge today as a blacksmith gladiator in charge of choosing from a variety of weapon parts to craft and arm yourself with the biggest, baddest weapon that you can think up! Then take your creation online to fight against up to 8 other players in online arena battle action. Or if you just want to experiment in single-player, then check out the open-ended Sandbox Mode with 50 weapon parts to choose from and endless waves of bots to annihilate.

Need a weapon to enforce social distancing against your online adversaries? Or maybe you just want to incinerate everything in your path with a flame-thrower - either way, Forge and Fight!’s creative, freestyle fighting capabilities with unlockable items over the course of each match will keep your foes on their toes with hours of hilarious replayability and side-splitting fun!
Continue here to read the full story.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Our flu vaccinations went very well yesterday. The doctor's office was pretty together and we got in and out very quickly. The doctor had a good touch too, and the shots were painless. MrsBlue complained a bit about her shoulder yesterday and mine was a little sore this morning, but it's no big deal. It's also easily understood as I watched MrsBlue get hers (I don't watch myself getting needles out of cowardice) and the entirety of the one to two inch needle went in. It's really surprising we aren't more sore.

Well-Shot Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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