Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 15, 2021

Get Obduction and Offworld Trading Company for Free

It's Thursday, and that means it's time to check out the Epic Games Store for freebies. This week gamers can collect Obduction for Windows and macOS and Offworld Trading Company for Windows completely free. Both will be yours to keep if you claim them before next Thursday. That's when the chance to get free copies of Defense Grid: The Awakening and Verdun. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Here's the rundown on this week's giveaways:
From Cyan, the indie studio that brought you Myst, comes a new sci-fi adventure. As you walk beside the lake on a cloudy night, a curious, organic artifact falls from the starry sky and inexplicably, without asking permission, transports you across the universe. The strange worlds of Obduction reveal their secrets only as you explore, discover, coax, and consider their clues. As you bask in the otherworldly beauty and explore the enigmatic landscapes, remember that the choices you make will have substantial consequences. This is your story now.

Mars has been colonized. Now, Earth's greatest corporate titans have been invited to build companies to support it. The competition to dominate the market is fierce in this fast-paced economic RTS from Civilization IV lead Designer, Soren Johnson. With space travel becoming a reality and the easy-to-reach resources on Earth dwindling, hopeful people seeking their fortune are rushing to the next great frontier: Mars.

For Honor Free Weekend

Ubisoft announces a free weekend is now underway in For Honor. You can check out the melee combat game for nothing between now and Sunday on all platforms. When it's all said and done you'll have a chance to purchase a copy for up to 85% off, and keep any progress you make over the weekend:
Free Weekend players will have full access to the Standard Edition of For Honor, which includes the story mode, all multiplayer game modes, 12 playable Heroes, and 30 maps. Players who want to keep battling after the weekend ends can carry on their progression and heroes to the full version of For Honor, which will be available to purchase for up to 85% off on PC.

AMD Releases Open Source FSR

As promised when AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution was first launched, this video enhancement technology is now available as an open source release on GitHub (thanks Simon). Word is: "AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is an open source, high-quality solution for producing high resolution frames from lower resolution inputs." A post on the AMD Community Website has more on the news, including a raft of new games with FSR, support for the tech in the Unity and Unreal engines. Here's the overview:
Just over 3 weeks ago we unleashed upon the world AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution [1], probably one of our most anticipated technologies ever. On June 22, we announced that FSR was available in 7 games on the day of launch, with 12 more games coming with FSR in the future, and we are delighted with the positive reception everyone has given FSR. Today, we have some more exciting news, with more games getting FSR support, the release of FSR for developers on GPUOpen, and FSR support in Unity and Unreal® Engine.

New AMD Adrenalin Drivers

In other AMD news, new Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 21.7.1 drivers are now available. Here's word on newly added support from the Release Notes:
Support For

  • AMD Radeon™ RX 6700M Graphics
  • AMD Radeon™ RX 6600M Graphics
  • F1® 2021
    • Up to 6% increase in performance in F1® 2021 @ 4K Ultra High settings with Raytracing enabled, and up to 26% increase in performance @ 1080p Ultra High settings, Raytracing disabled, using Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 21.7.1 on the 16GB Radeon™ RX 6800XT graphics card, versus the previous software driver version 21.6.2.RS-389

Continue here to read the full story.

Path of Exile: Royale Today; Expedition Next Week

During an Announcement Stream today Grinding Gear Games announced the Expedition expansion for Path of Exile, saying it will launch on July 23rd for Windows and macOS editions of the free-to-play action/RPG. In addition, the Path of Exile: Royale battle royale mode is now once again available for a limited time after first appearing in 2018 as an April Fool's promotion. This post has all the details on Royale, and this page has more on Expedition, including countdown timers for its launch on PC and consoles. For illustrations, we have an Expedition Official Trailer and a Royale (2021 Version) Trailer. Read on for more:
During the livestream, Grinding Gear Games Co-founder, Chris Wilson, revealed that the Path of Exile: Expedition expansion will feature the Expedition Challenge League, four new merchant NPCs, 19 new Skill and Support Gems, massive balance changes, a flask system rework as well as new item types.

In Path of Exile: Expedition, players encounter the Kalguur, who have traveled to Wraeclast to follow in the footsteps of their ancient settlers and to retrieve their lost artifacts. Players are asked to help retrieve these artifacts from marked Expedition sites where the Kalguur believe their ancestors have fallen. Players must strategically place a chain of explosives across the site and detonate them in order to unearth the remains of the fallen Kalguur, who rise as an undead army that must be defeated. Careful choices of where to place explosives will yield chests that might contain ancient runed artifacts.

These artifacts can be traded with new merchants, known as Tujen the Haggler, Rog the Dealer, Gwennen the Gambler and their leader Dannig. Each new NPC has a unique trading style, ranging from Rog sweetening deals in order to make a profit, to Gwennen who will offer items whose properties are a gamble during the trade.
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Lost at Sea Found

Lost at Sea is now available for Windows on Steam, providing PC and console gamers a new narrative adventure from publisher Headup and developer Studio Fizbin. Here's the Release Trailer and here's word:
The story is about Anna, a woman in her mid-50’s. Thirty years ago, she met her husband, Andrew and they wished for a child, but that took way longer than expected. They had almost given up hope when it happened after all, and Danny was born. Sadly, nine years later, Danny died in a terrible boating accident with a friend. Years later after the tragedy, Anna also loses Andrew to early dementia. After Andrew nearly dies too, she becomes aware that she cannot provide the help he really needs. So, Anna leaves the house and starts processing her feelings on an island she created in her mind, similar to the one that cost Danny his life.
Continue here to read the full story.

Ashes of Creation Alpha One Begins

Intrepid Studios is now offering Alpha One access to Ashes of Creation, the upcoming crowdfunded MMORPG. Testing will run for a month, and you can check out this post for details on who qualifies (for the most part a purchase is required). Here's an Alpha One Teaser and here's more on the plan:
Alpha One will run from Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific to Friday, August 13, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific and will allow players to play and test a number of systems in their core state including:

  • Server deployment and performance
  • System functionalities and behavior testing
  • Player characters and races
  • Combat systems
  • Character progression
  • Player-based economy
  • Node features
  • Sieges and Raid bosses
  • Ancillary systems including: caravans, drop, spawn, and reward table adaptations, player trading, mount and vehicle systems, raid and party functionality, guild progression and persistence, guild hierarchy, and chat systems
  • ...and more!
This is take two at a news story posted yesterday that actually had the game name completely wrong. Apologies for the error. Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Metaverse

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Rafting in Russia.

Steam Deck Announced

Valve officially announces the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC that was been the subject of recent rumors. Preorders start tomorrow at USD$399, and units will start shipping in December. Here's more on the Steam Deck, which features an AMD processor and a 7" touchscreen:
Steam Deck is a powerful all-in-one portable PC. With a custom processor developed in cooperation with AMD, Steam Deck is comparable to a gaming laptop with the ability to run the latest AAA games. Your Steam library will be on Deck to play games wherever and whenever you want. Steam Deck is also an open PC, adding the ability to install any software or connect with any hardware.

"We think Steam Deck gives people another way to play the games they love on a high-performance device at a great price," says Valve founder Gabe Newell. "As a gamer, this is a product I've always wanted. And as a game developer, it's the mobile device I've always wanted for our partners."

Steam Deck starts at $399, with increased storage options available for $529 and $649. Reservations open July 16th at 10 AM PDT; shipping is slated to start in December 2021.
Continue here to read the full story.

GUNDAM EVOLUTION Announced

BANDAI NAMCO announces GUNDAM EVOLUTION, a new first-person shooter set, obviously enough, in the Gundam universe. The news is in Japanese, but there's an English translation on Gematsu. Word is this will be a free-to-play game when it launches worldwide next year. In the meantime a closed beta test will run from August 8-9 in Japan. Here's more on the game:
Gundam Evolution is a first-person shooter where players can experience speedy and immersive team battles while piloting the Mobile Suits from the popular Gundam anime series.

Players can fight using Mobile Suits, which each have their own unique abilities, and fight while switching between them as the situation calls for it.

The game features intuitive controls via the unique “Boost” system, and allows players to enjoy six-versus-six online battles across several different rules and maps.

Resident Evil Re:Verse Re:Delayed

Capcom tweets the news of another delay to Resident Evil Re:Verse. After the last delay to this multiplayer component for Resident Evil Village, it was announced we should expect it this month. Now word is this was a miscalculation by almost half a year:
The previously announced July 2021 launch of Resident Evil Re:Verse is being moved to 2022 so that the team can continue working to deliver a smooth gameplay experience. We will share updated launch details at a later time. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Delayed

Fatshark Tweets that the release of Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is being delayed (thanks Gematsu). Word is the co-op action game is now set to arrive in the (northern) spring:
Today we have made the difficult decision to move our release date of Warhammer 40,000 Darktide to the Spring of 2022.

We have a responsibility to deliver the best game we possibly can, and frankly we need more time to accomplish this goal. It's no secret that building a game during a pandemic is a challenge and we are not immune to this. We are planning to use the extra time to both focus on the level of quality at release, as well as invest in more systems to support Darktide for years to come.

We couldn't be more excited about Darktide. In fact, the toughest part in this decision is the fact that we won't be able to put the game in your hands sooner. But I hope you will join us in hive Tertium early next year!
Continue here to read the full story.

Highrisers Rises

Highrisers is now available for Windows on Steam, offering a survival/RPG that takes the genre out of the woods and into an urban setting. The Release Trailer takes a look at what publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Solar Powered Games have in store for us. This involves, side-scrolling gameplay, scavenging, crafting, and a desperate race to get to da choppa. Here's an informative blurb:
Players will hop into the boots of four survivors, each with their own unique abilities. Whether the plucky young Jes with her affinity for tech, or the mechanic Ike and his handy ability to repair machines, each character offers a different personality, a deep skill tree, and an individual approach to survival. They’ll need every bit of skill and grit when they descend to the treacherous lower floors to scavenge for supplies. Food, spare parts, tools, and weapon materials are all ripe for the taking — if our bold wasteland warriors can avoid the roaming gangs of dreamers the lurk below the sun line. Of course, merely surviving the night is only the first step, and in order to truly escape this city of sleepers players will need to repair the HC-27 helicopter to escape, transport more goods, and fly to safer shores — or rooftops.
Continue here to read the full story.

Cricket Captain 2021 and Demo Released

Cricket Captain 2021 is now available for Windows on Steam, offering the latest installment in this sports management series from Childish Things (thanks Frans). There is also a playable demo so you can check it out first. Besides an updated player database, this year's installment features a lengthy list of enhancements, all outlined in the Steam Listing. Here's the pitch:
Cricket Captain 2021 takes to the field for a new season. An exciting year includes the final of the inaugural Test Match Championship, and the new ODI World Championship, which gives teams the chance to qualify for the 2023 World Cup. The 100 Ball competition will run for the first time, introducing a new short format game. Cricket Captain 2021 gives you the change to play in these, and many more, competitions and formats.

20 Over match simulation has been improved for Cricket Captain 2021, with a rebalanced match engine and updated batting aggression bar, providing greater control of scoring rate. We have also increased outfield catches when batsmen are attacking. The target RPO (T.RPO) indicator has been replaced with estimated RPO (E.RPO) when batting, taking changing bowler tactics into account, to give greater scoring rate accuracy. Dot ball percentage has replaced maidens in 20 Over matches to provide further information about the bowling strengths and performance of your bowlers.

Streets of Rage 4 Mr. X Nightmare DLC Released

Mr. X Nightmare is now available for Streets of Rage 4, offering a new DLC pack for the fighting game sequel. Available for PC and consoles, you can find the Windows edition on GOG.com, Steam, and the Microsoft Store. Those who own the base game will not be left out, even if they don't pick this up, as word is it comes along with some free content: "Fans are also treated to a big free update separate from the DLC which brings several cool new features and enhancements to the game." Here's the Official Launch Trailer and a bit on what this brings to the fight:
The DLC sees new features added to Streets of Rage 4 which encompasses several different areas:

  • Playable New Fighters: Introducing the playable debut of powerful officer Estel Aguirre, with the awaited return of fully realized playable versions of Max Thunder and Shiva, both beloved characters of Streets of Rage 2 & Streets of Rage 3.
  • Survival Mode: An inventive, immensely replayable challenge where fighters beat down endless waves of foes and earn perks for as long as they can stay alive. The Random version of this mode keeps each fight unpredictable through generated runs, and the Weekly version has a series of static gauntlets generated each week that keeps players on their toes as they brawl their way through the streets of rage and fight for the top spot. Each completed level offers a choice of randomized stackable perks to choose from.
  • New Moves: Braving Survival’s onslaughts also permanently unlocks new moves for use across any of Streets of Rage 4’s modes, allowing players to personalize movelists for their favorite characters. Even Retro characters now have new moves.
  • New Badass Weaponry: Progress unlocks devastating new weapons within the incoming training mode, as well as gallery content.
  • Leaderboards Show Who’s the Boss: The mode’s leaderboards keep track of the community’s well-fought runs too; who will be Wood Oak City’s finest fighter?
  • New Tunes: Keep groovin’ with original music from Tee Lopes (Sonic Mania, League of Legends).
  • And Wait, There’s Even Moaaar: A separate free update adding an in-depth training system, color palette options, a fiendish New Mania+ difficulty, plus a wealth of refinements and balancing changes addressing feedback from Streets of Rage 4’s passionate community.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Falconeer: Edge of the World Next Month

Publisher Wired Productions and developer Tomas Sala announce Edge of the World, a new expansion for The Falconeer that's set to take off on August 5th. This will come to the PC and Xbox editions of the open-world aerial combat game, and it is also included in a new The Falconeer: Warrior Edition, which will finally bring the game to PlayStation and Switch. Here's a high-flying Edge of the World DLC Trailer with a look, and here's more on the plan:
Edge of the World features three brand new mini campaigns accompanied by nine new missions. Visit the exotic Mongress Mawsprings, exclusive to Edge of the World, discover ancient installations and uncover the fate of expeditions thought lost long ago, or assist an eccentric client to recover an ancient relic, while combating a deep and archaic evil.

The Edge of the World expansion also reveals two exclusive Legendary Ace classes and mounts. Ascend as the Arbiter who flies on the back of a Fenix, or soar over the Great Ursee as a Corsair aboard a prehistoric Pteron. Take to the skies and unleash the Imperial Shocklance, an electric weapon with the ability to eliminate multiple enemies at once.

Edge of the World also sees an increase of the level cap from 20 to 24 through the various ancient items that can be discovered throughout the Great Ursee.
Continue here to read the full story.

The Immortal Mayor Early Access

Early Access to The Immortal Mayor is now available for Windows on Steam, providing a first chance to experience this construction/management game from developer Star Chess Studio and publisher Yooreka Studio. As the unusual title suggests, the player goes beyond politics to take on the role of a deity. Here's a previously released trailer with a look and a further explanation:
The Immortal Mayor puts players in the powerful shoes of a local god with a mission to build and manage a burgeoning city with Chinese cultural inspirations and architecture. Players must carefully plan out how each villager is utilized and manage the resources they gather carefully to prepare for seasonal changes and challenges. Everything from farming and mining to city planning and defense building are crucial elements of surviving the everchanging weather conditions and onslaught of monster enemies.

Players can befriend other gods and use magic to help residents build and grow the town. For example, the Moon Elder can greatly increase people's willingness to get married and have kids, while the Weather Master can help with control the weather.
Continue here to read the full story.

QuakeCon 2021 Details

Bethesda offers more details on QuakeCon 2021, following the recent announcement that this year's edition of the gaming gathering will be all-virtual, like last year's. The update fleshes out the following overview:
The QuakeCon community will once again come together online to play and celebrate their favorite games while raising money to do some good in the world. Kicking off on August 19 and ending on August 21, QuakeCon will include livestreams featuring updates on existing and upcoming games, tournaments, charity fundraising, puppies (of course), giveaways, and more. We’re also bringing back the Virtual BYOC via Twitch Teams to help bring the QuakeCon faithful together through games once again!

Out of the Blue

It's already been an adventure-filled day here at the BlueTower, as we suffered a power outage first thing this morning. The weird thing is that with clear skies and no wind, this was clearly not weather-related. MrsBlue and I took a walk and found some workers who explained that a car hit a utility pole down the road a bit. That's pretty scary, as it's a 30 mph road, and I doubt that's enough to damage one of those poles, so I imagine this involved excessive speed. Of course, hitting a stationary pole off the side of a quiet road is not an endorsement of any of one's driving skills, so I guess this shouldn't be a surprise. Anyway, it only took the power company a couple of hours to get everything right, so things are back to normal again.

Obituary: Jeff LaBar, Guitarist for Glam Rock Band Cinderella, Dies at 58.
Obituary:
Dutch crime reporter De Vries dies after Amsterdam shooting.

Powerless Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Stories

Science
Thanks Max.

Media

Follow-up

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