Archived News:

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020

The Game Awards Nominees

The Game Awards Website has all the nominees for next month's awards show. They offer everyone the chance to vote on their picks. Word is: "The Game Awards, the video game industry’s biggest annual year-end celebration, today announced its 2020 nominees with The Last Of Us Part II, Hades and Ghost of Tsushima leading nominations. Highlighting the games from the past year that truly transformed entertainment, created camaraderie and community and pushed the envelope on innovation, this year’s diverse list of nominees includes 95 different games, individuals and teams spanning across a multitude of gaming genres and platforms. The nominees will be honored during the free digital livestreamed event on December 10, which will be available across more than 45 global video platforms." Here's are the nominees for Game of the Year:
Game of the Year

  • Doom Eternal - id Software/Bethesda
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake - Square Enix
  • Ghost of Tsushima - Sucker Punch/SIE
  • Hades - Supergiant Games
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Nintendo
  • The Last of Us Part II - Naughty Dog/SIE

Realpolitiks II Early Access

Those who haven't had enough of real politics or Realpolitiks are in luck, as Early Access to Realpolitiks II is now underway on GOG.com and Steam. You can get a 10% discount off your campaign contribution if you elect to buy this over the first week. This includes a revamped combat system and a new modding tool to allow players to create their own content. The Early Access Trailer offers a look, and this description outlines what to expect:
Experience classic grand-strategy set in modern times in Realpolitiks II where you lead any contemporary nation in an attempt to secure world dominance. The road to supremacy is filled with modern world issues as you manage your nation’s economy, command armies, conduct diplomatic and espionage actions, and tackle global threats such as terrorism, pandemics, famine, and more.
Continue here to read the full story.

Interstellar Space: Genesis Gets Natural Law DLC

Natural Law is now available on Steam, offering the new DLC for Interstellar Space: Genesis, the 4X strategy game from Praxis Games set in space, where no one can hear you point out that all four of those X words start with "e." This comes along with a version 1.2 update for the base game, but users are warned that previous saved games are not compatible with the new patch. This post has the recent Natural Law Trailer along with the complete version 1.2 patch notes. Here they lay down some Natural Law:
For far too long, the desires of the galaxy lay ignored, neglected by its so-called most intelligent and advanced species. Little did they know that while the galaxy's demands may be delayed, they will not be so easily subdued. There is a natural order, an ordained path it longs to take, and there are laws far greater than their own that must be fully obeyed. Against near impossible odds, two newcomers arise, alleged champions for their cause, both of whom ready and willing to right that which they feel has gone wrong.

Expansion Overview
This expansion features 2 new races, each fully equipped with unique new capabilities which are also usable by custom races. It also includes 9 new fully animated ruler options, 4 new music tracks, and 4 new leaders!
Continue here to read the full story.

Epic Sues Apple in AU

Sydney Morning Herald has the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the court battle between Epic Games and Apple over Fortnite royalties in the App Store, whether Apple has a monopoly and all that jazz (thanks GamesIndustry.biz). The new action sees Epic stating the situation represents a violation of Australian consumer law:
Epic has long complained that the 30 per cent cut Apple takes on all payments made through its platform is too high. In August Fortnite, which brought in revenues of $US1.8 billion ($2.5 billion) in 2019, was removed from Apple's iPhone App Store when Epic insisted on including its own direct payment option at a 20 per cent discount. Epic subsequently sued Apple in California.

Now in its Australian filing, Epic claims Apple is breaching Australian consumer law by preventing competition in its iPhone ecosystem for payment processing and app downloads.
Continue here to read the full story.

Sea of Thieves November Update

The November Update for Sea of Thieves is now available, updating the Windows edition of the multiplayer pirate game with new content. As noted in this post on Steam this is a smaller update than usual, but they also outline bigger changes that are in the pipeline:
We’ve been busy with more than the regular updates you’ve already experienced: we’re hard at work behind the scenes on some significant changes that will lead us into 2021, with plans in motion for how we continue supporting the game and some major news still to come. Sea of Thieves isn’t slowing down any time soon.

However, it does mean that we’ve had to slightly rethink our end-of-year updates to lay some groundwork and allow us to focus on things beyond the immediate future. So November’s update is more of a quality of life update, largely focused on bug fixes and improving the core Sea of Thieves experience for all players. However, we’ve made sure there’s still plenty to do in terms of events and in-game activities, extending some events and building on the success of others, while the Pirate Emporium team have also restocked the shelves with more of the endlessly creative things they’ve been working on.

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: 007 LIVE AND LET DIE - James Bond Revisited. Thanks Ant.

New AMD Drivers

Relevant to the news above, AMD Support now offers new version 20.11.2 Adrenalin 2020 Edition Windows drivers for AMD graphics cards. These are WHQL-certified, but listed as "optional." As noted below, these add support for the new graphics cards and the new World of Warcraft expansion:
Support For

  • Radeon™ RX 6800 Series
  • World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Added Vulkan® Support

  • VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate
    • This extension provides the ability to change the shading rate per fragment. This extension allows for multiple pixels to be shaded via a single fragment shader invocation as opposed to the normal rate of one invocation per pixel.

Continue here to read the full story.

Embracer Group Embraces 13 New Acquisitions

Shopaholic game conglomerate Embracer Group announces no fewer than 13 new game companies they have purchased. This spree adds to an already overwhelming roster they boast includes six operative groups (THQ Nordic, Koch Media, Coffee Stain, Amplifier, Saber Interactive, and Deca), 46 studios, and over 190 franchises. This page has press releases with their latest financial reporting and more details on each of the following 13 new acquisitions:

IO Interactive Announcement Tomorrow

IO Interactive tweets the announcement of an announcement, saying they will reveal a new project on YouTube tomorrow at 9:00 am EST:
NEW PROJECT

JOIN US FOR THE REVEAL
NOVEMBER 19

6AM PT / 9AM ET / 3PM CET

youtube.com/iointeractive

Another Ubisoft Exec Removed

Kotaku reports that Hugues Ricour has been removed from his position as managing director of Ubisoft's Singapore studio where they are developing Skull and Bones. It is not clear if he is still with the company, and it is not stated whether this is related to the sexual harassment scandal at the company. They do note allegations of sexual harassment by Ricour are part of this Gamasutra report from August. They also say: "Sources Kotaku have spoken with over the last several months say that Ricour's management style and behavior at work was problematic, citing bullying, demeaning comments, and retaliatory action against those perceived to have stood up to him." They quote an internal Ubisoft email saying the move is the result of a "leadership audit":
"Effective immediately, Hugues Ricour is no longer Managing Director of Ubisoft Singapore," reads the email from Ubisoft chief studios operating officer, Virginie Haas, who took over that position in August amid the company’s ongoing MeToo reckoning. "The results of the leadership audit that was conducted in the last few weeks by our external partners makes it impossible for him to continue in this position."

Fortnite Gets Houseparty

Epic Games announces they've integrated Houseparty support into Fortnite, bringing video chat to their battle royale/survival game. Here are the details:
Beginning today, connect with your friends in Fortnite like never before. Whether you’re enjoying the latest in-game event or chasing an elusive Victory Royale, the new integration with the Houseparty app brings revolutionary video chat technology so that you can video chat with friends while playing Fortnite.

GET STARTED WITH VIDEO CHAT
Houseparty video chat will be available to Fortnite players on PC, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4. Players will also need an iOS or Android mobile device with the Houseparty app installed. With the app installed, connect your Houseparty account to your Epic Games account to get started.

As a bonus for linking your Epic and Houseparty accounts, you will unlock the Rainbow Fog Wrap.

Tinkertown Next Month

Headup announces a December 3rd release date for Tinkertown, the multiplayer sandbox game that's the first game they are developing in-house. The playable demo released during the summer is still available on Steam and they also plan to offer access to the full version via Steam's new Playtest feature next week. Here's a new "Once Upon A Tinkertown" Trailer, and here's more:
Tinkertown is a drop-in multiplayer game where players build, craft and explore an exuberant, procedurally generated open world, and discover dungeons filled with enemies, bosses and epic loot.

Play as a rogue, a warrior, a mage, or anyone you wish to be. Tinkertown offers a unique experience to all players based on the weapons and armour of their choice.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Game of Life 2 Announced

As you may already know, you can learn about life when you play The Game of Life. But since there's always more to learn, Marmalade Game Studio announces development of The Game of Life 2, a computer game based on the classic board game that's being redesigned from the ground-up. It is coming to Steam next month and there are also plans to release a Switch edition next year. A new trailer (which sadly does not make use of the catchy commercial theme of the board game) offers a look, and here is more about how this will differ from the first game:
The Game of Life 2 is a brand-new modern spin on the classic life simulation board game that players everywhere are know and love, but Marmalade has redesigned it from the ground-up to be more relevant and inclusive for today's players.

Getting rich and starting a family isn't the only way to win anymore. Players now have far more options for how to live out their lives - it's never too late to foster a small army of dogs, go get that diploma, or even pivot your career entirely and become a Youtube celebrity!
Continue here to read the full story.

Goop Loop Early Access

Early Access is now underway on Steam for Goop Loop, a puzzle platformer for Windows and Linux. This comes from Lone Wulf Studio, an appropriately named one-person studio. The developer notes this "is sort of in the spirit of something like Jump King or Getting Over It." The Early Access Launch Trailer offers a look, reminding us of Katamari Damacy taking on the myth of Sisyphus. Here's a description:
You're a piece of goop stuck in a loop. All you can do is jump and stick to make the loop roll using physics. You can aim your jump and have some air control, so it's a matter of being patient and clever in order to build up enough momentum to get over hills and other obstacles.

  • Roll the loop up hills, over gaps, and other obstacles.
  • Be encouraged/entertained/enraged by my narration as you attempt to reach the top.
  • Fall back down and lose a bunch of progress, probably.
  • Question your life choices.
  • Discover new goop colors.

Continue here to read the full story.

Fantasy Grounds Unity

Fantasy Grounds Unity is now available through the official website and Steam, offering another virtual tabletop platform for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This is a new version of Fantasy Grounds completely re-written in the Unity Engine. Here's a Launch Trailer and here's their pitch on why you should roll the dice on this:
Fantasy Grounds Unity offers a dynamic system for playing a host of different roleplaying games online. It is used by hundreds of thousands of gamers worldwide to connect and play popular games such as D&D™, Pathfinder™, Savage Worlds™, Call of Cthulhu™ among others. Today, Fantasy Grounds offers more official licenses than any other tabletop of its kind and the Unity release provides enhanced functionality for sound, map making, images, FX and networking. You can run games as a GM or partake as a player; everything you need is provided to communicate, manage campaign information and perform tasks such as rolling the dice or moving tokens around the gamemap. The Unity version is a replacement for the Classic version with numerous interface enhancements and full backwards compatibility with all data modules. Content can be moved from Classic to Unity with minimal effort, and the enhanced set of features in Unity makes the transition well worth the switch.
Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

As winter approached last year, our first in our new home, I anticipated that the waterfowl on the nearby pond would migrate south. To my surprise, the ducks and three swans never seemed to do this, though at some point late in the winter the lone cygnet did end up leaving, presumably to begin its adult life. So now I am equally surprised to see only two swans swimming about this morning. There had been five of them, a family that merged together when one swan was killed on the road. So I assumed this was three adults and two cygnets. I'm not sure if the three departures are permanent, and it's hard to logically figure out which ones left, but for now at least there's just a pair of them.

Obituary: ‘Jetman’ Who Flew Beside a Plane Dies While Training in Dubai. Thanks brother19.

Southbound Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

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Science

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The Funnies

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