Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Blaster Master Zero Version 1.5 Goes Live on 23rd November

News: Blaster Master Zero Version 1.5 Goes Live on 23rd November

A new battle mode?!

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Blaster Master Zero Version 1.5 Goes Live on 23rd November

News: Blaster Master Zero Version 1.5 Goes Live on 23rd November

A new battle mode?!

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Mass Effect's dialog scenes were inspired by British sitcom 'Extras', says former dev

To mark its 10th birthday, animator Jonathan Cooper shared trivia about Mass Effect's production -- including that its iconic over-the-shoulder chats were directly inspired by 'Extras'. ...

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Belgian officials decide yes, loot boxes are gambling, and they'd like them banned

After some scrutiny, the Belgian Gaming Commission tells local media that it believes 'loot crate' monetization schemes in games do qualify as gambling -- and a local official would like them banned. ...

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'Treasure Raiders' Looks Like a Fun New Shooter, Coming Early 2018 but in Open Beta on Android Now

One of the happy side effects of all the major companies pumping out generic shooter after generic shooter over the years is that games started focusing on giving their characters actual personalities and unique traits to help set them apart from the pack. You could argue that Valve was way ahead of its time in doing this with Team Fortress 2 a decade ago, but nowadays most major online team-based games like Overwatch or League of Legends feature a colorful cast of playable characters to choose from, and Oasis Games is getting into the mix with their upcoming game Treasure Raiders. It's kind of a mix of MOBA and a typical run and gun action RPG, and it features five very distinct playable characters which are introduced in the following trailer.

Treasure Raiders will have to main modes: PvE and PvP. The PvE has you completing various quests and taking on boss fights in order to earn experience and resources to level up your character and upgrade your equipment. It's designed for cooperative play with other players but can also be played solo. PvP is pretty much what you'd expect and will feature both 1v1 ranked combat as well as 4v4 team-based battles where your objective is to destroy the other team's base. The worldwide launch of Treasure Raiders is planned for early 2018, but the game is actually already in open beta on Android and you can grab it on Google Play right now. There's some bonuses for beta players which are detailed on the game's official site, along with other interesting stuff like full character profiles and more. Treasure Raiders is looking like a lot of fun so we'll keep our eye on its progress and I'm sure will be talking about it more as we head into 2018.

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GameStop's earnings rise thanks to demand for new games and Nintendo's Switch

GameStop says game hardware sales rose nearly 10 percent year-over-year, thanks largely to continued demand for the Nintendo Switch, and sales of new games rose thanks to a "strong title lineup." ...

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Review: Battle Chef Brigade (Switch eShop)

Review: Review: Battle Chef Brigade (Switch eShop)

Allez, cuisine!

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Review: Battle Chef Brigade (Switch eShop)

Review: Review: Battle Chef Brigade (Switch eShop)

Allez, cuisine!

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Interview With Wargaming's eSports Director on 'World of Tanks Blitz' and 'Blitz Twister Cup'

Recently, we got the opportunity to interview Dariya Klimchuk, eSports Director for Wargaming, during the Blitz Twister Cup of World of Tanks Blitz [Free]. We are always interested in how mobile games become competitive eSports games, and World of Tanks Blitz is a great example of that. Wargaming has become a behemoth by now, with World of Tanks Blitz doing very well and World of Warships Blitz on its way to a global release. It's always hard to gauge people's interest in eSports, but we do know that Blitz's PC brethren, World of Tanks, has been doing well as an eSport, so we wanted to see how the team is developing a mobile game with an eye towards eSports. Enjoy the interview below.

1) How do you feel about the eSports side of World of Tanks Blitz after Blitz Twister Cup?

Blitz Twister Cup 2017 marked a great step forward in the eSports evolution of World of Tanks Blitz. The winning team (Legion, from Europe) managed to defeat last year’s reigning champion. This is particularly important because teams from all over the world had hoped to see a new winner this year. It proves that practice alone can take any team to the top – and maybe even result in winning the championship!

Half a million viewers watched this year’s Twister Cup. That’s a clear indicator that eSports are being embraced by the masses. It motivates us to keep investing in eSports so that we can bring even more spectators and players to the fold.

2) How do you develop the game as an eSport? Do you have a separate team working on eSports features versus features for everyone, or do you develop with both in mind?

We integrated a full eSports module (which includes a full-featured tournament system, series, and ratings) for players looking for ways to improve their skills. Both standard and tournament-specific features cover two different types of players.

The first group wants – and needs – to compete. For them, we’re implementing a number of improvements and challenges such as tournament seasons and clan leaderboard/ hall of fame. A second group is more interested in playing random or rating battles – but this doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in eSports.

We have an eSports team working on the new eSports features and events – and another set of developers responsible for the “standard” game, with the goal of having a cohesive whole. We can’t lose sight of our core players. At the same time, World of Tanks Blitz has embraced those who want to compete. Even if you never thought about becoming a professional gamer, you should still have a chance to watch eSports and to perfect your in-game skills.


3) How does game balance factor into a successful eSports event, and are you happy with that balance in Blitz?

On the player’s side, the main differentiators are the skills and teamwork required. In random battles, you’re playing against 7 random players… with 6 other players on your team. On the other hand, in the tournaments you will be playing with 6 players on an organized team with a clear vision of the most effective tactics for each map. You’ll be using voice chat as well. Tournament players don’t get their favorite tanks every time, because that choice will depend on the team’s tactics and desired roles for any particular scenario.

But there are no differences between standard and eSports content in World of Tanks Blitz.
For example, we use the same random battle game modes for eSports purposes. We believe that eSports game modes (and tanks!) should be the same for random battles because everyone deserves a chance to practice. Random battles are great for learning the ins and outs of the game – and when players join tournaments, they should be familiar with the gameplay. Winners are defined by individual skill and teamwork – not the ability to play in elite, exclusive areas and/or game modes. If a game’s tournament setup has different game modes (or formats) than in everyday battles, this makes it nearly impossible for players to adapt if they decide to take the eSports route.

Our tournament series starts at tier 5. In the top leagues, players get to play on tier X – but it’s the same map, and the same game modes. They may train at any time using these settings, and the tactics developed here will work in a tournament setting. In random battles, it’s 7 versus 7; this is the same for tournaments. Random means that you play with 7 random players without voice chat. In the tournament, a well organized team of 7 uses voice chat apps like Discord or Teamspeak to work as a well-oiled machine and coordinate/strategize together.

Everyone can take part in a tournament. All they need is to find a team! In this year’s Twister Cup, we had an amazing example of this: As mentioned earlier, Legion (the European team) won 1st place. This was an unpredictable outcome because last year, the CIS team was the champion. At Wargaming, our key goal is to show “average” players how easy it is to become cyberathletes. That’s why it’s so important to keep random battles and tournament battles on an even keel.


4) What are the long-term plans for the eSports side of World of Tanks Blitz? Are you hoping to get more casual players into the eSports side of the game? If yes, any plans, modes, or contests to encourage that?

We’re planning to define two types of competitive groups. First of all, we understand that not everyone wants to become a cyberathlete. We want our core players to be able to compete in a simpler tournament mode – the Quick Tournaments mode, which is in the works right now. This will allow for:

● Open registration (team may register even if the tournament has already started).
● Several attempts to win (even if the team loses the game, the team has two more chances).
● Pauses at any time between matches.
● No static brackets (opposing teams are enrolled in real time from a pool of those who are ready for battle).
● Rewards that may be given by winning each run or the best run.

Our budding pro gamers already have a team. For them, we have a Tournament series that goes from Bronze to Silver to Gold and then Championship. Winning is incredibly challenging, but players get a chance to attend offline competitions and win real money – and maybe even become celebrities! The Tournament series has “seasons” – just like any real-world sport. Teams get rated and compete against each other. Later, Qualification Tournaments take things to a whole new level.


5) How does the fact that Blitz is on PC too affect the game as an eSport? How do you ensure fairness given how different the controls are?

When we started on the eSports path, we asked this same question. World of Tanks Blitz as a competitive game: How would it work? The answer was clear: Mobile controls would allow us to standardize control methods. We reached that conclusion because it turns out that most of our players are on mobile. Since competitive players must abide by the same rules and regulations, it makes sense that they should stick to the same control method – just like mouse and keyboard on a PC first-person shooter. It just didn’t make sense to allow a mix of control methods. So we decided to embrace Blitz’s mobile roots and require mobile controls for anything above Gold – including online tournaments, because they lead to offline finals (which are touch control only). We like to think that World of Tanks Blitz is mobile-only from an eSports perspective.

The Bronze and Silver series allow players to use PC controls – or have them use both touch and more traditional mouse and keyboard controls on the same team. Those are the leagues where teams are a little less stable – with most of them playing for fun.

Thank you for the interview and congratulations on a successful tournament. 


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Review: Super Beat Sports (Switch eShop)

Review: Review: Super Beat Sports (Switch eShop)

Aural astral alien olympics

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Review: Super Beat Sports (Switch eShop)

Review: Review: Super Beat Sports (Switch eShop)

Aural astral alien olympics

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Video: Scoring Hell - Creating the music of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

At GDC 2015, a panel of folks who worked on Diablo III: Reaper of Souls offered fellow devs some insight into the strategies and challenges for scoring Hell. ...

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Square Enix says its games are a good fit for the Switch, get buried on Steam

In a brief Q& A following its financial results briefing earlier this month, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda touched on the company's future plans for the Switch and drive to up its digital sales.  ...

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Awesome Stunt Driving Game 'REKT!' Gets New Arena and New Cars in Latest Update

One game I've been having a ton of fun with since its release in early October is the stunt driving game REKT! [$1.99] from the Little Chicken Game Company. It gives you a handful of different stunts you can perform with your car, and then sets you loose in a big arena to go seek out the highest-scoring tricks and lines in the limited time of your run. It's kind of like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater meets an over-the-top stunt driving game. It's great! We loved REKT! in our review. One of the biggest requests I've seen since it came out though was for more levels to play in. The initial release came with just one level, and although it's pretty huge and filled with tons of ramps and obstacles, variety is the spice of life. So the developers listened to those requests and have just released a new update which adds a new level called The Bowl for players to explore.

As its name implies this new level does in fact have a bowl in it which makes for some interesting driving, but it's also filled with tons of other cool new obstacles to get tricky with. I don't have any actual size comparisons to go on but The Bowl feels even larger than the original level, so if you've already been having fun with REKT! then this essentially doubles the amount of fun you can have. It's not free though! Not in an "actual money" kind of way, but The Bowl will cost you 2,000 in-game coins to unlock before you can play it. And since this is a paid game with no IAP, you're going to have to earn that fake money the old-fashioned way.

While the new level is the star of this update, there's also a very welcome new Practice Mode added to the game which means you can cruise around either of the levels for as long as you want with no time restrictions. You can't earn achievements or unlock any new vehicles in Practice Mode for obvious reasons, but it's definitely nice to be able to have all the time you need to seek out all the cool lines and obstacles in each course. Finally, this update also adds in two new unlockable cars as well as four hidden vehicles to discover. You might even get a glimpse of a couple of the new cars if you visit the game's discussion thread in our forums. Overall this is a case of an awesome game getting even better by way of meaty free updates, and it sounds like there's even more content in the pipeline for REKT! in the not too distant future.

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'Round Rick' is a New Brick Breaker from FredBear Games that's Looking for iOS and Android Beta Testers

Even though it's a genre that's well-covered on pretty much every platform, I still enjoy seeing new brick breaker games. Prolific mobile game developer FredBear Games is bringing a new one to iOS and Android soon called Round Rick, and it has a few interesting wrinkles that sets it apart from the pack. One is that there's a cohesive storyline to the game where you're in charge of restoring the worlds of the Cute Marbles people that were destroyed by the evil Captain Breaker. This plays out with some minor city-building as you make your way through the game's campaign, destroying the "bricks" in each level which causes various types of resources to rain down which you can then collect and put towards rebuilding the world. You can see how this plays out in the following gameplay trailer.

There will also be cool features like boss fights and special magical spells you can use during play to help you rid the world of Captain Breaker's army of Squamen. Yes, there is lots of lore attached to this seemingly simple brick breaking game, which I think is pretty cool. FredBear is currently looking for participants for a beta test, so if you're interested you can check out the thread in our forums for more information and you can sign up for testing on iOS or Android using this link or if you'd like to just cut to the chase and own an Android device you can just grab the Open Beta version of the game on Google Play using this link. Round Rick will be released sometime in 2018 and until then you can check out this more general trailer for the game to see even more of it in action.

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Telltale's 'Batman: The Enemy Within' Episode 3 Is Out Now

Telltale continues to spit out episode after episode of its many series, and today is the turn of episode 3 of Batman: The Enemy Within [Free] , probably the best series of the last few months (judging from what I've played of it so far). In this series, Batman has to deal primarily with the Riddler (and a few others) while also trying to navigate the complex power politics of Commissioner Gordon and Amanda Waller (I won't say much about who she is because that would spoil the series a bit). And while Batman is having a hard time navigating his current situation, Bruce is also having more than a few issues of his own, which is part of what has made this series fun to play. The series managed to make Bruce Wayne an interesting character to play, and that has really helped the series.

In this episode, expect Batman to further try to deceive many of those around him (friends and not), which of course will have quite the toll on both Batman and Bruce. And Joker is also around, making the series even more entertaining. So far, the series hasn't had any serious technical issues on mobile, and I hope it continues like that. "Fractured Mask" is out today and costs $4.99.

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Get a job: Echtra Games is hiring a UX Designer

Echtra Games is searching for a User Experience Designer to directly support development of features, flows, and interfaces for its upcoming PC & console title in San Francisco, CA. ...

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How Frictional pacified SOMA's monsters without sacrificing the scary

Speaking to PC Gamer, SOMA director Thomas Grip discusses the design considerations made when creating the game's upcoming 'safe mode'. ...

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'Rules of Survival' Guide - How to Constantly Win in This 'PUBG'-Like Battle Royale Without Hacks or Cheats

While there have been loads of Rules of Survival guides that have popped up as the game has soared to the top of the iTunes charts, I've really yet to see any of them that offer any kind of actual useful tips that you couldn't just figure out yourself by playing the game for five minutes, or worse, just reading the iTunes description. As of this writing, I've got 264 hours of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds under my belt, and it doesn't seem like Rules of Survival [Free] keeps track of cumulative play time, but let's just say I've been eating my fair share of chicken dinners as practically everything learned by playing PUBG is completely applicable in Rules of Survival, which I suppose just goes to show what a good job NetEast did at cloning the Steam smash hit.

Find a control scheme you're comfortable with:

Before we even get started with any kind of high-level strategy, start with the basics and really go through the various options the game has for controls. Typically when you play clones of popular games like this, little thought goes into the controls beyond maybe allowing you to adjust camera sensitivity. In Rules of Survival, the menus are loaded with sliders for everything, as well as entire different control schemes. If you find the default one to be a little awkward, give the others a try. Even if you're a-OK with the defaults I still recommend digging into the "Advance" menu and turning on "double tap to turn around." Movement is always a little awkward in games with virtual controls where you can't just rapidly move your mouse, and being able to double tap the joystick and run the other way is fantastically useful as often the best way to win a match is not getting involved in a firefight at all.

The best places to drop:

The game begins with all the players loaded on to the airplane, which flies over the island that the battle royale takes place on. Before trying to actually play competitively, just practice jumping out of the plane and seeing how far your parachute can take you to get an idea of how far you can stray from the plane's path. If you pull your parachute early, you can fly farther away, but this comes with the disadvantage of slowing your overall descent. Players who waited until the last second to pull their parachutes will reach the ground (and any loot) first.

There's two distinct strategies you can take with where you drop, and they're both equally valid. You can either choose to jump out and hope to land in the center of the map, and get in fire fights early or you can look for a place as far away as possible and work your way back towards the action. The former can be good, as killing and looting players is a great way to quickly gear up, but I tend to prefer the more methodical approach of taking my time and moving slowly.

Bring up the map by tapping the mini map, look for a group of buildings you think you can make it to, tap to place a marker, then keep an eye on the HUD at the top of the screen to guide yourself to that point. With any luck, you'll be the only player that decided to drop there and you'll have full houses full of loot for yourself.

The most important thing to do when you've got your parachute out is look around to see where other players are dropping, then mentally bookmark those areas as where people could potentially be coming from to kill you. If you see someone heading to the exact same spot you are, you need to decide whether or not you want to divert course and go somewhere else or potentially get involved in a mad loot scramble to kill them first.

Looting priority and what to look for first:

Obviously when you first drop you want to scramble for any kind of weapon you can find, since you never know when you're going to run into someone else but the first things you should be looking for is a backpack and a helmet. Backpacks significantly increase your carrying capacity, which determines how much ammo and everything else you can haul around. You're going to be at a serious disadvantage if you need to start passing up med kits and other important items because you don't have a backpack. Helmets protect you from getting killed in one hit with a headshot, so make sure you've always got one.

From there, my ideal load-out is one weapon that's good at close distances like a shotgun or submachine gun and any sort of rifle that can have an optic equipped. Scopes are unbelievably powerful in Rules of Survival, as you'll potentially be able to shoot people from so far away that they can't even see you. The drawback is, a scoped rifle isn't great for close quarters combat inside of a house or something, which is where you'll be switching to your shotgun or SMG.

The shockingly complex psychology of the "door meta" and leaving loot behind:

When you enter a house to loot in Rules of Survival, you'll need to open doors. Initially, you won't think too much of this, but you quickly realize that you're leaving a very obvious path behind of where you've been and what you looted. The same thing can be said for items you do (and don't) pick up. Doing well in battle royale games is all about mastering the psychology of your opponents, as if they come across a house that has all of its doors closed and some assault rifle ammo sitting in the middle of the room it seems super reasonable to assume no one is in there. But, you could be sitting in the bathroom waiting to blow them away. People seem to really let their guard down when they think a house is unlooted. Exploit this to its fullest.

Patience is key:

For whatever reason, it seems like all new players to any battle royale game treat the game mode like it's any other fast-paced death match game when it is anything but that. In Rules of Survival you can often make it to the top 25 by doing nothing but hunkering down and waiting a couple minutes. I always do my best when I spend the first part of the game chilling out, slowly making my way into the first circle, and avoiding all conflict.

Collect gear and ammo, keep your health up, and let all the other dummies fight amongst themselves. They're often easy pickings when they're low on health, and get careless from being over-confident from getting a couple kills. Camping (sitting in one spot and waiting to shoot) wins games, so find a good spot and just relax. Let people come to you.

Sound is everything, use headphones:

While you likely play a lot of mobile games with the sound off, Rules of Survival is one you'll want to play with the sound on at minimum- Or, ideally, with headphones. You want to use every piece of information the game gives you to determine what to do next, and if you're not using sound you're missing a massive indicator of where people are.

Not many people seem to have figured this out in Rules of Survival, so it seems like the best thing to do is when you hear a car or footsteps, just hit the deck and wait. When they get close enough, an indicator will appear at the HUD on the top of the screen. These audio cues are just as good as running actual wall hacks, as you can sense exactly where someone is to already have your gun pointing their direction before they come into view.

Using sound, and patience as mentioned before, can lead to surviving FAR longer than you would otherwise just running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Additionally, the plane going overhead as well as the bombs being dropped in the red zone can mask the sound of your own movements. Use this to your advantage when you think people might be listening for you.

Don't fear the green:

The primary mechanic that drives these battle royale games is the system of circles that determine where players need to go next to not take damage. A primary circle will appear on the map inside of a larger circle. You need to make it to that smaller circle by the time the larger circle hits its border, otherwise you take damage.

Something to (strongly) consider is that in the early game this damage is not that substantial, but everyone treats these circles like you're going to get insta-gibbed if you step outside of them. That's not the case at all. You take damage, sure, but it's something you can easily heal through with items.

By disregarding the first circle you'll be in an area of the map where it's practically guaranteed you won't run into other players and can just wildly loot everything. When you watch PUBG played on the professional level, some players won't come into the circle until the end game. It's risky, but it's a strategy that works super well. Don't be scared to take a little damage as the rewards can be fantastic.

Circle positioning and catching people running in:

Because people are often so scared of taking damage from the circle, another great strategy is doing the inverse of what I mentioned above and rush to position yourself at the very edge of the primary circle, positioned with good cover looking out over a road or field which people will need to run through to get to safety. Particularly if people are coming in late, or just ahead of the damage-dealing forcefield they'll be running at full speed, making tons of noise, and just generally not paying attention to you hiding behind a tree waiting to kill them.

Crates are the perfect bait:

Every now and again a plane will fly over and drop a crate filled with some of the best loot in the game. Initially you'd think, "Oh, rad, I need that." Problem is, everyone is thinking that. Some of my highest kill games have been games where I've been able to get a good position in the high ground above where a crate dropped. People get loot fever, and just run directly to the crates that drop. If you managed to find a scope, picking these players off is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Better yet, when you finally need to run in to evade the next circle, give yourself a little time to then loot that crate and all the people you killed trying to get it.

Always make sure you have grenades:

For whatever reason, it seems like no one in Rules of Survival has figured out how good grenades are yet. They do a ton of damage and are both good for killing people who are in an easily defensible position inside of a house as well as when the final few people are alive and everyone is hiding. Just be careful with where you throw them, as if anyone is playing with sound on you'll be giving them a massive clue to where you probably are.

Use the third-person camera to your advantage:

While it might not be super apparent when you first start playing, you can exploit the third party camera to see around corners, over walls, and through windows without exposing your character to gunfire. Learning how far you can move before being seen and how to get full views out of windows without exposing yourself is absolutely key to staying hidden and getting the jump on other players.

Don't bother with duo and squad play unless you're playing with friends:

One of the most frustrating parts of Rules of Survival right now is how it seems like tons of people queue up to play duo and squad games, then just screw off and do their own thing. If you're going to play anything beyond solo with random players, it's best to just wait and see where they drop and follow them around. Few people seem to realize what map markers are, and even fewer people are using the in-game voice chat.

...However, you can totally use this to your advantage. Using the in-game friend system and forming your own groups and hopping into Discord can give you a unbelievable advantage. Very few duos and squads actually play using any kind of teamwork, so when you arrange a team and actively use voice chat it is straight up absurd how easy winning Rules of Survival becomes.

Keep at it:

While Rules of Survival is the best PUBG clone currently available on the App Store, with how white-hot PUBG is right now I'm sure there will be others. Much like how the skills you learn playing a MOBA are largely applicable to other MOBAs, the same is true for these battle royale games. Just try to be strategic and analytical. When you die, think of what you did to be in a situation where someone was able to kill you and try to use it as a learning experience to avoid that particular situation again.

If anyone has any other tips, drop them in the comments. Have questions? I'll answer them. As mentioned, I've got hundreds of hours under my belt of playing games like this one, and could easily spend all day writing about them.

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