Archived News:

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2021

Riot Games Clears Riot CEO

The Riot Games Website has the results of the company's "Special Committee" review of sexual harassment allegations against Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent that resulted in a lawsuit by his former assistant. The post is quite lengthy, going into detail about the committee's mission and goals, and giving more detail on its findings. It also leaves open the door to re-evaluate these conclusions should new information surface going forward. Here is a short summary:
In making our assessment of the results of the outside investigation, we considered two things. First, we assessed whether there was factual support for any of the misconduct alleged by the plaintiff. Specifically, were there any indications of inappropriate conduct? Second, we looked at whether the pattern of interaction between Laurent and the plaintiff could have been interpreted as harassing, discriminatory, or retaliatory. In other words, was there anything in the general communication pattern that would lend credibility to the plaintiff’s claims?

After review of the results of the investigation:

  • We concluded that there was no evidence that Laurent harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against the plaintiff.

We have therefore reached the conclusion that, at the current time:

  • No action should be taken against Laurent.

That is our recommendation to the Board.

Activision Blizzard Layoffs

Bloomberg says that Activision Blizzard fired "dozens" of people today, including a confirmed 50 who worked on eSports programs and events. This comes as Activision Blizzard is shifting away from live events amid the pandemic lockdown. But they report many as 190 jobs were lost, or less than 2% off the company's workforce, according to "a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the number isn’t public." A company spokesperson told Bloomberg: "Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the e-sports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events." In an ugly bit of timing, this comes at the same time it is being reported that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is due to receive a $200 million payout thanks to a "Shareholder Value Creation Incentive" in his contract.

New GeForce Drivers

NVIDIA now offers new version 461.92 GeForce Game Ready drivers for running GeForce graphics cards under Windows. As noted in a separate article, these add support for NVIDIA Reflex on the Overwatch Test Region. Word is:
NVIDIA Reflex is now available on Overwatch’s Test Region, and will launch on the public server as part of a future update. When enabled in-game, system latency is halved, greatly increasing responsiveness.

New Call of Duty Warzone Banwave

A tweet from Raven Software announces the banhammer has been unleashed on more cheaters in Call of Duty: Warzone, the free-to-play battle royale. The post is short and sweet:
#Warzone anti-cheat update.

New banwave earlier today!

More to come…

Crusader Kings III Gets Content Add-on; Play for Free

Northern Lords is now available on Steam, adding a new "flavor pack" to Crusader Kings III, Paradox Interactive's strategy/RPG for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This comes along with a free update which adds harsher winter conditions, character duels, and a new poet trait to the base game. Speaking of the base game, this is available to play for free for the next four days. Here's a Release Trailer for the flavor pack, and here's a taste:
One of 2020’s most celebrated games gets its first new content today. Crusader Kings III, Paradox Interactive’s strategy role-playing game about medieval dynasties, expands with a new flavor pack highlighting one of the game’s most popular regions.

Northern Lords adds greater depth and variety to the Norse cultures of medieval Europe through a series of new events, options and decisions. With more detail on Norse religion, raiding and internal disputes, this flavor pack is now available at major online retailers and the Paradox Store for $6.99/£5.19/€6.99
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X4: Foundations and X4: Cradle of Humanity Launch

An announcement on Steam News reveals the X4: Foundations 4.00 update and X4: Cradle of Humanity expansion are now available, kicking off the "next chapter of the X4 saga." Here's the Cradle of Humanity Launch Trailer, and here's more on all this new content for EGOSOFT's space series for Windows and macOS:
The wait is over, and the next chapter of the X4: Foundations space simulation has begun! You can now download the extensive free 4.00 update to the base game, which expands and improves it in numerous ways. Gameplay changes include completely new features such as Terraforming, new options for managing hostilities, improved fleet control, and a new emergency eject feature. On the technical side, the 4.00 update brings volumetric fog effects, improves the fading-in of asteroids, and adds a visual shield impact effect. You can find the complete changelog for the 4.00 update below - have fun scrolling and discovering!

But that's not all! Today we are celebrating the release of X4: Cradle of Humanity, the second expansion for X4: Foundations. The expansion brings the X series back to Earth. It significantly expands the game universe with new sectors, and welcomes two Terran factions along with their economies, ships, weapons and stations. New gamestarts introduce players to the identities and political stances of the Terran factions, and offer alternative perspectives on events in the story of X4: Foundations. New storylines, with cutscenes and brand-new character models, will draw you deeper into the X-Universe and keep you enthralled.
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PC Super Bomberman R Online Plans

VGC reports Super Bomberman R Online is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch after beginning as a Stadia exclusive. The original Stadia Official Announcement Trailer and here's the description from the Stadia Website:
Drop bombs and collect power-ups to blast your way through SUPER BOMBERMAN R ONLINE! You can compete against up to 64 players from around the world in this explosive survival battle.

With the new BATTLE 64 mode, move from one area to another and blast away your rivals in an epic online survival battle! Fight your way to the end and outlast all other players to be BOMBER ONE!
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Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Early SpaceX engineer crawled inside an imploding rocket on a jet. You're Batman! Thanks The Flying Penguin.

Intel Rocket Lake-S CPUs Launch

Intel announces the official launch of 11th Gen Core S-series desktop processors, code-named "Rocket Lake-S" and engineered on the new Cypress Cove architecture, because you can't have enough pet names for a CPU. And yes, with chips in short supply everywhere, these may be hard to get for now. So what's the frequency Kenneth? The top of the line is the flagship i9-11900K, which can reach 5.3GHz (with Intel Thermal Velocity Boost¹), and touts enhanced overclocking features. Here's more:
Engineered on the new Cypress Cove architecture, 11th Gen Intel Core S-series desktop processors are designed to transform hardware and software efficiency and increase raw gaming performance. The new architecture brings up to 19% gen-over-gen instructions per cycle (IPC) improvement² for the highest frequency cores and adds Intel® UHD graphics featuring the Intel® Xe graphics architecture for rich media and intelligent graphics capabilities. That matters because games and most applications continue to depend on high-frequency cores to drive high frame rates and low latency.

Designed to Game: With its new 11th Gen desktop processors, Intel continues to push desktop gaming performance to the limits and deliver the most amazing immersive experiences for players everywhere.

At the top of the stack is the 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900K, featuring unmatched performance with up to 5.3 gigahertz, eight cores, 16 threads and 16 megabytes of Intel® Smart Cache. The unlocked 11th Gen Intel Core desktop processor supports fast memory speeds with DDR4-3200 to help enable smooth gameplay and seamless multitasking on this platform.
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GTA Online Load Time Fix Live; Author Gets Paid

Grand theft Auto V Title Update 1.54 is now live, including the promised GTA Online load-time fix. Word is: "Improvements to PC loading times *Thanks to t0st for his contributions around this part of today's title update." The author of the fix reveals this triggers a $10K bug bounty, noting this award is usually reserved for addressing security issues. The patch also includes "General network connectivity improvements."

Star Dynasties Early Access

Star Dynasties is now in Early Access for Windows on Steam, carrying a 10% launch discount. Star Dynasties is a role-playing sci-fi strategy game, not to be confused with Dynasty stars, which would be Elizabeth Gillies and Rafael de la Fuente (or John Forsythe and Joan Collins for us old fogies). Here's a previously released Early Access Release Date Trailer and here's a bit on the game and its goals for Early Access:
From publisher Iceberg Interactive (Endless Space, Stars in Shadow) and developer Pawley Games, Star Dynasties is a role-playing sci-fi strategy game set in a divided galaxy following the destruction of Earth. A unique procedurally generated narrative of human drama and feudal politics is mixed together with a light empire management layer.

Lead Developer Glen Pawley remarked: "Star Dynasties is almost complete, and I'm excited to invite players to join us on the last leg of the journey. We've got some interesting features planned over the next six months to round out the experience - but what I'm most looking forward to is seeing how player feedback will influence the final shape of the project. The beta tests we've run have been some of the most stimulating periods of working on the game, and I hope Early Access will be as enjoyable, for both us and the community."
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Dark Alliance in June

Wizards of the Coast announces that Dark Alliance will arrive for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on June 22nd, offering an action/RPG based on the Forgotten Realms of Dungeons & Dragons. This is a delay, as the game was originally announced with a 2020 release window. Preorders are now underway on the Dark Alliance Website, including the option of a Digital Deluxe Edition which includes some extras. Here's a new Official Gameplay Trailer and here's more:
“DARK ALLIANCE marks an important milestone for us as the first Dungeons & Dragons video game to be published by Wizards of the Coast,” said Chris Cocks, President, Wizards of the Coast. “We’re excited to expand beyond the tabletop and deliver brand new type of D&D experience to long-time fans and new audiences when the game launches this June.”

Developed by Wizards Studio, Tuque Games, and set in the Forgotten Realms, the game features real-time combat and dynamic co-op gameplay, and pits the infamous Drizzt Do’Urden and his legendary companions – Catti-brie, Bruenor, and Wulfgar – against some of the most iconic monsters from the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Frost Giants, Beholders, and White Dragons roam the frozen tundra of Icewind Dale in search of the Crystal Shard— and it’s up to the companions to muster the strength to stop them from claiming and using it to destroy their home.
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Monster Energy Supercross 4 Track Editor and Contest Next Month

Milestone announces a track editor will come to Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 4 on April 14th for Windows on Steam and for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. This will kick off a worldwide contest to create a track for the dirtbike racing game, and the winning entry will be recreated in real life for inclusion in the 2022 Official Championship.
Have you ever dreamed about a track you created coming to life? That’s what’s going to happen. How does it work? Between April 14, 2021, and June 14, 2021, players who want to be part of the contest must design a virtual track through the Track Editor system featured in Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 4.

Milestone is calling on the players to unleash their creativity and imagination to design the track of their dreams - and make it real. This is a unique occasion, a once-in-a-lifetime situation: you have the chance to see your favorite rider racing on the track you yourself designed.
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NARUTO TO BORUTO: SHINOBI STRIKER DLC Plans

BANDAI NAMCO announces a DLC pack for NARUTO TO BORUTO: SHINOBI STRIKER is in the works and will come to Windows via Steam and to the console editions of the martial arts combat game. This will bring Karma to Boruto, and it would be bad karma to mess this up, so we'll just let the announcement speak for itself:
Experience the latest form of Boruto from the hit anime series, Boruto: Naruto Next Generation, when the latest DLC releases for NARUTO TO BORUTO: Shinobi Striker. Momoshiki Otsutsuki has embedded his Karma into Boruto as Boruto dealt a fatal blow to Momoshiki in battle. This Karma has activated new powers for Boruto but is also slowly spreading throughout his body and will soon take over his mind and body until all that is left is the reincarnation of Momoshiki Otsutsuki. More information regarding the release of this new DLC will be made at a later date.

In his new form, Boruto acts as a Defense type character and can utilize Boruto Stream and Lightning Style: Thunderclap Arrow as his two Ninjutsu powers. His Secret Technique is Karma Linchpin (Wild). This ability resets the Ninjutsju and stock of Substitution of enemies in range, as well as greatly reducing enemy movement and speed while also absorbing their Secret Technique gauge.

WW2: Bunker Simulator Demo

A playable demo is now available on Steam for WW2: Bunker Simulator, an upcoming FPS/survival/simulation where you play as a lone allied soldier defending a captured German bunker in World War II. The demo allows you to play out the first day of this mission. Here's a Gameplay Trailer, and here's a briefing:
WW2: Bunker Simulator is a unique mix of FPS, action, survival, and simulation game. Try to make it through each day while at the same time following orders from Command and fulfilling every military task they throw at you. Your fight won’t only be with restless Nazis attacking when you least expect them, but also with hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation. Take care of yourself as much as your brothers-in-arms to make sure they’ll come to the rescue when you need them most. Scavenge for supplies, destroy military targets, fight back enemy waves, send encrypted supply drop requests, and do all you can to hold your ground. History will judge you, but until then, make sure that everyone knows you’re in charge of this bunker.
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WW2 Rebuilder Announced

Once you get out of the bunker there will still be work to be done. Madnetic Games and PlayWay announce WW2 Rebuilder, an unusual take on the city building concept coming to Steam with a TBA release date. This centers on the reconstruction of war-torn cities in Europe in the aftermath of World War II. The Official Gameplay Trailer shows daunting tasks like the demolition and replacement of damaged structures and the repair of infrastucture all the way down to the tedious minutiae of clearing rubble and cleaning smudged bricks. Here's more on the plan:
In WW2 Rebuilder, you will witness the aftermath of World War II. See the famous European cities on their knees, walk the streets of London destroyed by Blitz, combat-torned French towns, or almost completely ruined Warsaw. Then get to work!

Clear the city of debris so that you can start rebuilding. Cut wrecks and smash ruined walls. The resources are scarce, so try to recycle everything you can. Undamaged bricks can be reused and even ordinary rubble will be useful for filling cavities in the streets.

If you manage to repair major damage without spending all your resources, you will have the opportunity to redevelop the city space. Use the variety of buildings and decorations, paint the signboards, and plant new trees, so the people may finally forget the terrors of the war and be happy again.
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Out of the Blue

As some of you noticed, the "retro black" option of viewing this site with its original black background stopped working yesterday. At the same time the "launch links" option that opens links in a new tab or window also ceased to do so. As usual, Frans was able to quickly diagnose what was going on and set things right. He explains that a server setting temporarily blocked the jQuery CDN, which caused the retro black and launch links options to fail. Canceling the setting solved it. Easy for him to say! Anyway, everything should work as before now, apologies for the glitch and thank you to Frans for taking care of it.

Obituary: Yaphet Kotto: James Bond villain and Alien actor dies at 81. Thanks brother19.

Retro Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Science

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