Archived News:

Wednesday, Mar 03, 2021

NACON Responds to The Sinking City Takedown

A statement from NACON follows-up on allegations from Frogwares that the publisher pirated The Sinking City to the game on Steam, which led to Frogwares getting a DMCA takedown of its own game. NACON says it's the sole distributor of the game, that it has made all the appropriate royalty payments to Frogwares, and that the developer is acting in bad faith:
NACON has contributed to the financing of development and the payment of royalties to FROGWARES to the tune of 8.9 million euros to date (including the full payment for a version of the game for STEAM), making the global investment far above 10 million euros when integrating the marketing costs. Contrary to FROGWARES’ allegations, NACON has paid all amounts due.

Today, unless FROGWARES is acting in bad faith, it has no reason not to make the game available to NACON on STEAM.

In the past, FROGWARES has improperly relied on accusations regarding a lack of payment to refuse delivery of the game on STEAM, at which point they tried to unsuccessfully terminate the contract. The Paris Court of Appeal deemed this action “manifestly unlawful”; ordering the continuation of the contract and encouraging FROGWARES to refrain “from any action which would impede such continuation”.
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Scrapnaut Early Access

Early Access is now underway for Scrapnaut, a Windows steampunk base-building game from developer RockGame. You can take your pick of where to get this, as it's available on the Epic Games Store, GOG.com, and Steam, with each store offering a 15% discount. An Early Access Launch Trailer provides a look, and there's also a playable demo on Steam as well as a free Prologue if you want to check it out. 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!
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Demeo Gameplay Trailer

Resolution Games offers an Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer for Demeo, showing off this virtual reality dungeon crawler that's coming to Steam later this year. The clip shows off interesting gameplay elements like die-rolling and cards which give this elements of a tabletop game. Here's more on what this shows us:
Resolution Games today answered the call from many eager RPG fans to know more about the VR studio’s upcoming fantasy dungeon crawler, Demeo. In a newly released gameplay trailer, viewers are given their first glimpse of the multiplayer co-op game in action as they are immersed into the dungeon where a warrior faces off against the army of ferocious beasts and savage goblins that blocks the way.

As the video continues, viewers are brought back a layer to the meta-reality of Demeo’s VR basement, showing the first-person perspective of multiple players sitting around a table playing Demeo together. RPG fans have dreamed for years about descending into their favorite fantasy games, and with this single change in perspective, viewers come to the realization that Demeo truly puts players inside of a fantasy epic at a level never seen - or experienced - before thanks to the magic of VR.
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After the Fall This Summer

Vertigo Games announces it will release After the Fall after the spring, as the VR co-op action game is expected this summer. Word is this is coming to Steam, Oculus, PlayStation VR, "and yet to be announced VR platforms." Here's a new Cinematic Trailer to serve as a tourism ad for post-apocalyptic Los Angeles and here's more on the next game from the folks who brought us Arizona Sunshine:
From the creators of Arizona Sunshine comes an epic VR action FPS set in the frozen remains of an alternate 1980s LA with intense four player co-op gameplay at its core. After the Fall pits players and their friends against a hostile, evolving post-apocalyptic VR world in a raging fight for survival. View the game website here - afterthefall-vr.com

Key features

  • An Epic Multiplayer VR Shooter - Go solo or join forces in seamless co-op on a campaign through a post-apocalyptic, infested VR world from the creators of Arizona Sunshine
  • Hell Has Frozen Over - Discover, scavenge and survive the ice-covered and Snowbreed-infested ruins of a post-apocalyptic LA ground to a halt in an alternate 1980s
  • Towering Boss Fights - Survive unprecedented hordes, fight tactically to defeat Specials and think on your feet as you square off against awe-inspiring bosses
  • Discover Your Combat Style - Craft, upgrade and wield a huge variety of deadly weapons and devastating powers, all with real-life movements
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Song in the Smoke Announced

Developer 17-BIT unveils Song in the Smoke, a VR survival/adventure that's the next release from the developer of Skulls of the Shogun and GALAK-Z. This will come this year to Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and PlayStation VR. Blast some Deep Purple, check out the Announce Trailer, and read on for some details:
Awoken by a three-headed crow at the edge of a forest, Song in the Smoke players will travel through a world as varied as it is beautiful, moving between 8 stages: from lush forests, through ancient valleys, to frozen peaks. Embark on a quest to uncover the secrets of the Song in the Smoke, and stay alive by gathering materials to make tools, weapons, clothing, medicine and shelter. Use your club and your bow to fend off strange beasts and battle the elements to become the apex predator in this unforgiving environment.

Ambitious and expansive, Song in the Smoke utilizes VR to its full potential, allowing players to expertly identify threats with sound, sight, and smell. Use the world to your advantage, and stalk your prey from the tall grass. Intuitive VR controls let you line up the perfect shot with your bow, but be careful to listen out for the creatures that may be hunting you, or else you’ll have to fight for your life with clubs, sticks, or anything else you can get your hands on.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Remote Play Together Beta Expands

Valve announces an expansion to the beta "Invite Anyone" program, allowing Steam users to invite as many friends to join a multiplayer game as the game will support. The twist is your friends not only don't need to own the game you're playing, they don't even have to have Steam installed or a Steam account, they'll just need the Steam Link app. And this covers more friends than before, as they also announce that Steam Link is now available for Linux. Inviting your friends requires opting into the Steam Client Beta, and you can find a list of thousands of games that support Remote Play Together on this page.

The Sinking City Delisted Again

The Steam Listing for The Sinking City is no longer working (thanks Kxmode), and according to Vice this is because developer Frogwares triggered a DMCA takedown of their own game. This Lovecraftian mystery/horror game has been at the center of controversy since shortly after it first launched last June. It was delisted in September due to a legal battle between publisher Nacon and Frogwares. It returned to Steam in January, then got a new listing, but Frogwares asked gamers not to buy it. They later alleged that Nacon "pirated" the game to sell it on Steam, and Nacon posted their own rebuttal.

Valheim Hits Five Million Vikings

The milestones just keep coming for Valheim, as a post on Steam announces the Viking survival game has now sold more than five million copies since its release a month ago (thanks Jaysen). Here's what developer Iron Gate says about the achievement:
You’ve done it again! As you are reading this, the Valkyries have ferried more than FIVE MILLION souls to Valheim to uncover ancient treasures, sail savage seas and secure the tenth norse world.

During the little time you’ve spent in Valheim, all five million of you managed to:

  • Spend more than 15,000 years playing Valheim
  • Watch more than 35 million hours of gameplay Twitch
  • Pushed us to number 39 in the best user reviewed games on Steam of all time
  • Made our five-person strong team excited to come to work (virtually) each and every single day (that’s one person per million sales, by the way!)

We watch with pride and excitement, and struggle to find the right words to express our gratitude to you, the community. Exciting new milestones lie ahead, and we for one cannot wait to show you more of the game as we journey through our 2021 Roadmap.

May Frey bless you with a plentiful harvest, and may Heimdall watch over your settlement. Oh, and if you see an oversized mosquito, run.

Zynga Acquires Echtra Games

Zynga announces the acquisition of Echtra Games, the studio behind Torchlight 3 composed of veterans of Torchlight and Diablo development. The team will be working on a new RPG that's yet to be officially announced. Here's a bit from the press release, which repeats the term "cross-platform" no fewer than a dozen times:
Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), a global leader in interactive entertainment, today announced that it has acquired Echtra Games, a cross-platform game studio composed of a development team whose core members have previously shaped the world of action role-playing games through their work on genre-defining titles including Diablo, Diablo II, the Torchlight franchise and more.

The Echtra Games team strengthens Zynga’s cross-platform play future by adding talented developers with extensive cross-platform play experience as well as proprietary cross-platform development tools and technologies that have been built on top of the Unreal Engine. Specifically, the Echtra Games team will be developing a new, yet to be announced RPG for cross-platform play in partnership with Zynga’s NaturalMotion studio.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Unveiled

Today AMD teased its new Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics cards. These theoretically go on sale for USD$479 in two weeks, though of course managing to beat out the scalpers and cryptocurrency miners will be a tall task. AnandTech offers the details:
Overall, today’s event from AMD was a bit less than a full reveal, but a bit more than a teaser. AMD isn’t offering a complete technical work-up about the RX 6700 XT two weeks before its launch – if only to have something left to showcase on the 18th – however the company has disclosed the most important points about the card. With 40 CUs, 12GB of VRAM, and a surprisingly high game clock, the RX 6700 XT is a natural fit for AMD’s lineup, paring down their RDNA2 hardware to something more appropriate for the 1440p gaming market that AMD will be targeting.

As rival NVIDIA’s own launch cadence has been a couple of months ahead of AMD’s, AMD once again gets the advantage of knowing well in advance how their latest part will compare to its green competition. For all practical purposes, the RX 6700 XT will be going up against NVIDIA’s own 1440p anchor card, the $499 GeForce RTX 3070. Compared to its rival, the RX 6700 XT will be landing with more memory (12GB vs. 8GB) and, interestingly, a slightly lower $480 price tag. According to their presentation, AMD believes that they’ll trade blows with the RTX 3070, but the decision to undercut NVIDIA is a sign that we shouldn’t expect the two cards to be perfectly matched.

Revita Early Access

Early Access to Revita is now underway on Steam, offering a Windows twin-stick platformer. Here's the Early Access Launch trailer with a look, and here's word on the game and Early Access plans:
In Revita players must climb an ominous clock tower through a series of procedural encounter rooms and past challenging boss fights on their way to reclaiming their lost memory. Along the way, players will be able to trade health for randomised upgrades as the game dares them to live on a knife-edge.

The initial Early Access version of Revita will offer 3 different biomes full of secrets to explore and conquer, more than 150+ relics for players to create their own ultimate combos, a customizable station hub to rest their weary bones, strange yet endearing residents to meet and over 30 vanity hats. During the Early Access period, the game will be expanded regularly with further content updates.
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Bang-On Balls: Chronicles Early Access

Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is now available in Early Access on Steam. For better or for worse, this seems to have no connection to Ow my Balls, despite the title. Instead, developer Exit Plan Games is creating an homage to classic platformers:
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles rolls onto the stage! A 3D platformer inspired by some of the best games of the genre including some Italian plumbers, a blue hedgehog, or a bear with a bird on his backpack! It’s a game where you become a reckless hero, customize your ballsy character, and play by yourself or in 4 players co-op with friends through various (slightly inaccurate) historically themed levels.

Are we gonna start with the Viking era? Sure, let's loot some treasure!
But the ball doesn’t stop rolling here! Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is gonna be updated on a regular basis, adding a new value to the game with new features, skins, maps, and many more! Where do we go next? Feudal Japan? はい、もちろん。Race to Space? Поехали! Fire up the rocket boosters! Wild West cowballs? Buckle up, partner!
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Espresso Tycoon Announced

DreamWay Games announces Espresso Tycoon, a business sim that hearkens back to a time when customers left their homes to buy things. This will include a social media component to publicize your coffee creations and a "3D coffee editor" to help design them. The plan is to release this on Steam at the end of next year, but there should be a playable demo sometime this year. Here's the Announcement Trailer and there are more videos for the game on the DreamWay Games YouTube Channel. Below we spill the beans on what to expect:
Espresso Tycoon is a brand-new approach to the old, wonderful tycoon games you remember from your childhood. You will deal with a hardcore management and economy full of variable structures, connections and solutions. The best of the best will be able to build a successful coffee business – and possibly a whole coffee empire.

Coffee is our hero!
Setting, decor, service – all are important to create a successful coffee business. But let's be honest, coffee is the hero here. You'll have to choose from different coffee grounds (but first - get to know your customers' preferences), add the appropriate amount of water and milk and finish up the coffee with the beautiful latte art on top. Our 3D coffee editor will help you in creating even the craziest recipe!
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Out of the Blue

I didn't realize it when I took on the project, but I ended up testing the limits of my handiness yesterday. We've been using the electric base-board heating since the problems arose with our pellet stove, and one of them stopped working. It actually didn't go on when we first tried it, and since the thermostat didn't make the distinct click when turned on, I thought that was the likely culprit. So I ordered a new one, which was only about 15 bucks. But then the heat kicked in on its own, making it seem like the problem somehow cured itself. But yesterday it stopped again, so I set out to replace the thermostat. I had done this before in our old house, and didn't think that much of it, but when I pulled the old one out of the wall, I was surprised to see the heavy gauge wiring where I expected to see thin low-voltage wires. So it seems that rather than just sending a little signal to the gas furnace like the one I changed years ago, this type of thermostat has the line voltage for the electric heater running through it. So I went to the circuit-breaker and turned off all the switches marked heat, and double checked that it was off with my multimeter before unwiring the old one. I wired up the new one, and after struggling a bit to get the stiff wiring back in the wall without dislodging the caps, we were good to go. It was all a little stressful, with the background fear of electrocution or house fire, but in the end it was pretty straightforward. But I'm still pretty pleased with myself.

Obituary: Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and close ally of Bill Clinton, dies.

Heated-up Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

Science
Thanks RedEye9.

Media

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