Archived News:

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2021 Anniversary of First Moonwalk (1969)

Ubisoft Financials

Ubisoft announces Q1 2021-22 sales results, calling them "in line with expectations." Word is: "First-quarter 2021-22 net bookings totaled €326.0 million, slightly exceeding the target of around €320.0 million and down 20.5% (17.4% at constant exchange rates) on the €410.0 million figure for the first quarter of 2020-21 and up 3.8% (6.9% at constant exchange rates) on the €314.2 million figure for the first quarter of 2019-20." An interesting note is the company's commitment to reducing its environmental impact:
Ubisoft’s Commitment to Global Carbon Neutrality: Ubisoft announced its medium-term goal to decarbonize by 2023 its direct operations to reduce its emissions by 8.8% per employee, based on 2019 levels. Ubisoft is also working on a carbon footprint reduction plan for 2030, which will be submitted to the SBTi for validation, in line with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Next Steam Next Fest in October

Valve announces the next installment in the Steam Next Fest series will get underway on October 1st:
Steam Next Fest is back with a new batch of upcoming games to celebrate! The October 2021 Edition will run October 1st through 7th, featuring demos, live developer chats, and livestreams- and it's all free.

It's also an opportunity for developers to get early feedback and build an audience ahead of a future launch on Steam.

Discover what's next by trying out demos in every genre from all over the world, and wishlist your favorites.

For more information on Steam Next Fest: October 2021 Edition (and to set a reminder to get notified when the event starts) please visit: https://store.steampowered.com/sale/nextfest

Fallout 76 Fallout Worlds Announced

Bethesda announces Fallout Worlds, a new custom server program for Fallout 76 that allows control over many of the settings in the post-apocalyptic RPG. This will officially launch in September, but is available on the Public Test Server as of today. A two-pronged affair, this includes Public Worlds open to all players, as well as player-controlled Custom Worlds only accessible to active Fallout 1st subscribers. Here's the way these work:
PUBLIC WORLDS FOR ALL!
Public Worlds are a rotating series of Fallout Worlds experiences available to all players. Hand-crafted by the team at Bethesda Game Studios with input from the Fallout 76 community, each Public World uses a different combination of Fallout Worlds’ settings to bring you a unique play experience.

This offers everyone in Fallout 76 the opportunity to see for themselves what’s possible in Fallout Worlds, as well as inspiration for their own creations with Custom Worlds.
Continue here to read the full story.

More Unreal v. Nreal

A post on The Recorder (may require registration or subscription) reports that Epic Games was hit with a Trademark suit in California Northern District Court yesterday filed by Nreal Technology Ltd., Nreal Inc. and parent company Shenzhen Tairuo Technology Co. They seem to be lawyers, which we are certainly not, but it appears this is actually a "complaint for declaratory judgment" rather than a suit. The issue here is not cash-cow Fortnite, but rather Unreal. That's because this is a response to a suit filed by Epic earlier this year over the similarity between the Nreal brand and Epic’s Unreal. The new filing complains about the venue and seeks declaratory relief:
Following Epic’s filing of the opposition, Epic and Plaintiffs attempted to resolve this dispute. However, on May 14, 2021, without any prior warning or notice, Epic filed a complaint against Tairuo in the Eastern District of North Carolina, where Tairuo has no business presence, alleging that Tairuo’s use of the Nreal Mark in connection with the Nreal Light glasses would cause confusion with Epic’s UNREAL Marks, infringe Epic’s marks, and violate North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices, and asking that Tairuo’s trademark application be refused. Upon information and belief, Epic filed its complaint in North Carolina—its “hometown venue” where it is headquartered—in order to gain an unfair advantage based on its significant presence in that state in litigation against a foreign Chinese company. Due to its lack of contacts with the forum, Tairuo contests personal jurisdiction in North Carolina.

Accordingly, this is a civil action for declaratory relief to vindicate the rights of Plaintiffs to register and use the Nreal Mark. Plaintiffs seek through this lawsuit declarations that use of the Nreal Mark does not create a likelihood of confusion, or otherwise unlawfully violate Epic’s rights under the Lanham Act or state law.

RimWorld - Ideology Released

RimWorld - Ideology is now available on Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering a new add-on for RimWorld, the colony simulator from Ludeon Studios (which is required). Here's a launch trailer along with some ideological details:
What do you believe? This second expansion for the multi-million selling sci-fi colony simulator RimWorld gives every person in the game a belief system. Play as piratical nudist cannibals, blind undergrounder mole people, charitable ranching cowboys, machine-obsessed transhumanists, and many more.

Belief systems define social roles for leaders, moral guides, and skill specialists. They invoke rituals from gentle festivals to brutal sacrifices. They guide preferences around food, comfort, love, technology, and violence. They venerate specific animals, desire different apparel and tattoos, and give access to different buildings and strategies.
Continue here to read the full story.

Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot: The First Cases Announced

Microids announces Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot: The First Cases, a mystery/adventure game coming to PC and consoles on September 28th. As the name suggests, this features a younger Hercule Poirot, before his fame as a detective, and before his mustache had filled in so nicely. This is in development at Blazing Griffin with full cooperation from Agatha Christie Limited. Here's a reveal teaser and here's a description:
In his early years as a detective, a young Hercule Poirot is invited to a reception by the influential Van den Bosch family, for the announcement of their daughter’s engagement. But tensions among the guests run high as a snowstorm descends on the town, trapping everyone inside the manor. The happy event is soon marred by the murder of one of the guests! Poirot being in the right place at the right time immediately begins to investigate. What buried secrets and deadly rivalries will he uncover?
Continue here to read the full story.

Netflix Game Plans Start With Mobile

A post on The Wrap has a letter Netflix sent to investors explaining its gaming ambitions (thanks GamesRadar+). Word is things will start with mobile games included at no additional cost with subscriptions:
"We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV. Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series," the investors letter said. "Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices. We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games."

Into the Black

Last Link of the Day: Porn Education Is Totally Unprepared for Modern Porn (may require registration or subscription). Thanks RedEye9.

Obituary: Logan's Run co-writer William F. Nolan dies at 93. Thanks Neutronbeam.

SAMURAI WARRIORS 5 Demo

The SAMURAI WARRIORS 5 Website reveals that a playable demo is now available for the latest installment in KOEI TECMO's tactical action series. The console editions can be found on each respective system, while the Windows version is on Steam. Here's word on the sample, which is amusingly called the trial version version:
With the Trial version version, you can play the earlier portions of the story. Save data from the Trial version version can be carried over to the retail version of the game. Note: In order to transfer your save data from the Trial version version, you will need to ensure your game is up to date with the latest patch.

Steam Deck Specs Boost

A post on twitter notes that there was an error in Valve's Steam Deck announcement (thanks PC Gamer). It seems the listing of dual-channel RAM support should have been quad-channel. This has now been corrected, and here's what the specifications now report:

Processor AMD APU
CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
APU power: 4-15W
RAM 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (5500 MT/s quad 32-bit channels)
Storage 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)

Cris Tales Released

Cris Tales is now available for Windows via GOG.com and Steam as well as for Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch. The Launch Trailer accompanying the news takes a look at why developer Modus Games calls this a "love letter to classic JRPGs." As noted in this post, there's a Launch Day Developer Roundtable scheduled for 4:00 pm EDT today. Here's more on the game:
Cris Tales is a love letter to classic JRPGs created by Colombian developers Dreams Uncorporated and SYCK where past, present and future are brought together on one screen. Players can use Crisbell’s amazing ability to slip between time periods to both aid citizens across Crystallis’ kingdoms and perform surprise attacks on enemies. If Crisbell wants to save her magical world from the evil that threatens it, she must make use of her power to shape varied time periods while gathering allies that will help her in her quest.
Continue here to read the full story.

KEO Beta This Weekend

Digital Matters Publishing and developer Redcatpig announce KEO, a team-based vehicular MOBA. This is driving towards Early Access later this year and the full game will release in September (which seems awfully compressed). Between now and the Early Access launch, three beta weekends are planned. These will show how the game holds up under stress while giving players the chance at a test drive. Testing will take place on three consecutive weekends, beginning on this Saturday. Head over to Steam and hit the "request access" button if you wish to volunteer your services. Here's a trailer showing off the game's high-speed vehicular combat and here are more details:
Key features of KEO:

  • Heart-pumping vehicle-to-vehicle combat: Put pedal to the metal to blast through opponents and secure victory, whether you’re a casual cruiser or a hardened gamer
  • Three fierce game modes: Deathmatch, Domination, and Racing await those who are brave enough to enter the battlefield
  • Expand and upgrade: From weapons to cosmetics, each vehicle can be personalised and upgraded to deliver flair and ferocity
  • Multiple vehicles: There are many war machines of all shapes and sizes to utilise on the battlefield, varying in abilities, speed, armour, and more
Continue here to read the full story.

Death's Door Opens

We seem to have arrived at death's door, as Death's Door is now available for Windows and Xbox, offering a corvine action/adventure from publisher Devolver Digital and developer Acid Nerve. The PC edition can be found on GOG.com and Steam where it carries a 15% launch discount. Word is: "Death’s Door marks the long-awaited return of Titan Souls developers Acid Nerve and thrusts players into a quirky and curious world where Crows are in charge of collecting the souls of the dead." Here's a trailer showing off the game, and here's more to help decide if you want to cross this threshold:
Reaping souls of the dead and punching a clock might get monotonous but it's honest work for a Crow. The job gets lively when your assigned soul is stolen and you must track down a desperate thief to a realm untouched by death - where creatures grow far past their expiry and overflow with greed and power.
Continue here to read the full story.

More DLSS Releases [Updated]

A new post from NVIDIA has the latest on efforts to bring NVIDIA DLSS technology to more games. Word is Back 4 Blood is one of four game releases getting DLSS support (but the beta will start in August (not this month as previously stated, apologies for the error). The post includes this trailer showing off PC features in the co-op zombie shooter. Here are more details:
With NVIDIA DLSS support available in Unreal Engine 4, Unreal Engine 5, and Unity 2021.2 Beta, developers can enable DLSS with a flip of a switch, greatly improving players’ performance and experience while keeping image quality comparable to native across all resolutions, even at 1080p. Over 60 games now support NVIDIA DLSS, and we’re continually improving DLSS’s quality.

Today, we’re announcing that DLSS is coming to Turtle Rock Studios’ much anticipated co-op zombie shooter, Back 4 Blood, at launch. DLSS will also be available this month in Escape From Naraka on July 29th, and has launched in F1Ⓡ 2021, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Rust this month.
Continue here to read the full story.

Parasight Demo

Steam now offers a playable demo for Parasight, a Windows 2D action/RPG with a souls-like bent. Here's a trailer with some insight into Parasight and a look at its offbeat style. The interesting twist here is that besides being able to defeat your enemies, you can also try to make friends with them:
Parasight is a 2D Action-RPG game with souls-like mechanisms, in Parasight you can choose to play peacefully or aggressively, you can socialize with enemies or fight with them!

Gameplay
The style used in the game is souls-like. You can choose to be a Knight, Wizard, or etc.
Level up, using SOUL EXTRACTS to become stronger in dealing with the enemies.
You can choose between various weapons, armors, rings, and many more!
Your actions will have consequences!
There are many endings in this game, and your actions are determining them.
You have three options to deal with the bosses in the game, fighting, social battle, or battle soul! You can choose to play peacefully or tempestuous.
Explore the vast nevermore Island to find out what happened to the last tyrant king and old settlers. There are also different side stories in the game.
Continue here to read the full story.

Rogue Company on Steam

Rogue Company is now available for Windows on Steam, exactly a year to the day since the tactical third-person shooter launched into Early Access on the Epic Games Store. To smooth out the process, the game supports crossplay and cross-progression across all versions. Developer First Watch Games and publisher Hi-Rez Studios note that the game has attracted more than 20 million players across all platforms since launching. Here's a new Steam Launch Trailer along with more on this chance to go rogue:
Gear up and drop in to Rogue Company, the third-person tactical action shooter that puts the fate of the world in your hands. Defeat the enemy team in objective and action based game modes featuring exotic locales, thrilling gun-play, and explosions…lots of explosions. Assemble your team and play FREE now!

Skydive into high-stakes missions in hot spots around the globe. Take part in action-packed 4v4 and 6v6 game modes; control the point in King of the Hill, fight to survive in Strikeout, or plant and defuse bombs in Demolition. Looking to be more competitive? Join the Ranked queue to show off your skills. Or relax in a rotating Limited-Time Mode.
Continue here to read the full story.

Splitgate Boasts 600K Players; Extends Beta

Developer 1047 Games announces that Splitgate has attracted more than 600,000 players in the week since the free-to-play arena shooter entered open beta. As a result, the beta is being extended, and it sounds like it will run up until the official release of the portal shooter on July 27th. Here's word on what to expect from next week's launch:
Splitgate’s launch on July 27 includes three brand new, visually striking arenas, a new gamemode called Showdown, dozens of new skins, new loadouts and more. The studio recently announced it would be expanding ahead of its flagship game’s launch this summer as it received $6.5 million in funding. The funds will help the team continue to grow and deliver on an aggressive content rollout and update strategy.

With grindable challenges, leaderboards, and over a dozen casual and competitive game modes, Splitgate is a uniquely fast-paced shooter with player-controlled portals, and poised to deliver a remarkable, polished and ultra-fun game for fans around the world.

Tencent Buys Stunlock Studios

These Tencent acquisitions seem to be a dime a dozen. Battlerite developer Stunlock Studios announces that Tencent is now its majority shareholder. Here's word:
Stunlock Studios and Tencent Holdings Ltd. said today they are strengthening their collaboration with a new investment agreement. Under the deal, Tencent becomes Stunlock Studios’ majority shareholder, empowering the studio behind the critically acclaimed game Battlerite, with access to Tencent’s wide experience in the game industry and valuable development tools. At the same time, Stunlock Studios will maintain both its identity and corporate structure. The two companies began their collaboration back in 2016, when launching Battlerite in China. In 2019, Tencent acquired a minority stake in Stunlock Studios. With this new, deepened partnership, Stunlock Studios will continue to develop games independently, while being backed by Tencent’s strategic support.

Morning Crowdfunding

Out of the Blue

Well, the recent storms have done a little landscaping outside the BlueTower, leaving MrsBlue worrying she may have tapped into some latent psychokinetic abilities. As I've mentioned, our little townhouse is blessed with a lovely view of a pond. Right in the middle of our view, however. is a tall gangly tree (or at least there *was*). When we moved here this was being strangled by vines, which left it partially defoliated and pretty ugly, but still with enough leaves and branches to obscure part of our buena vista. That is, until this weekend, when the tree toppled over into the water. Being right on the edge of the pond likely impeded its root structure, and the heavy rain probably caused enough erosion to uproot it. But as I say, MrsBlue has been spending so much time wishing a disaster would befall the tree that she's jokingly worried she was the cause. At some point in the future if you notice these updates being written by George Clooney you'll know her psychic powers have blossomed fully.

Psychic Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

Breakfast Link

Stories

Science
Thanks Max.

Follow-up

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