Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Washington becomes first state to pass law protecting net neutrality

Washington becomes the first state to pass a law protecting net neutrality following the FCC's decision to repeal the principle starting on April 23. ...

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A Trio of iPhone X Updates: 'Deep Loot', 'Machinarium', and 'Swim Out'

We're now several months removed from the launch of the iPhone X, and while a great many deal of iOS games have been updated to support the full screen of the device there's still some updates that are trickling out with iPhone X support. It's hard to justify writing about each and every one when they hit anymore, but once a few of them start to pile up I figure it's worth noting for anybody who is curious. Also it's a chance to give a shoutout to some quality games that you might not have heard of before. So without further ado here's the latest three games to receive iPhone X support recently that have caught my attention.

Deep Loot

Deep Loot, Free - Deep Loot has been one of my favorite mobile games for some years now, but seeing as it hadn't had an update in over two years, I thought it might never be updated to modern standards. To my delight I was proven wrong when a new update hit last week adding iPhone X screen support, a special new boat to celebrate the (belated) third anniversary of the game, and some general fixes. Deep Loot is a very lite roguelike diving game that's all about collecting loot. We awarded it Game of the Week when it released, loved it in our original review, and wrote about its massive 2.0 update in early 2015.


Machinarium, $4.99 - The boutique developer Amanita Design has put out some of the most beautiful games on any platforms including mobile for quite a number of years now. Machinarium is a point-and-click puzzle adventure featuring very unique characters and settings, as well as a number of tricky puzzles. One of the coolest parts about its design is that there's almost no text in the game, and everything is spelled out via little animated thought bubbles. We absolutely loved Machinarium when it launched on iOS way back in 2011, and it still is just as wonderful today as it was back then. Best of all is now you can enjoy its gorgeous visuals on the full screen of the iPhone X, and I'm hoping that Amanita's other two iOS releases (and their upcoming one) will get the same treatment soon.

Swim Out

Swim Out, $2.99 - While the other two games listed here are pretty old by mobile standards, Swim Out is relatively new having just launched in August of last year. That hasn't stopped it from becoming one of our favorite strategic turn-based puzzlers though, and not only did we love Swim Out in our original review but we also included it in our Best 100 Games of 2017 list. It also got a pretty nifty update just a few weeks after its release. Being that Swim Out uses this awesome, almost 1950s style aesthetic, I was pretty darn happy to see it receive support for the full screen of the iPhone X last week. If your part of the world is cold and blustery right now, and you find yourself dreaming of soaking in some sun poolside, then the more than 100 levels of brain-busting puzzles in Swim Out will be a nice little vacation for you and it looks especially great now for you iPhone X owners.

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Get a job: Infinity Ward is hiring a UI Engineer

Infinity Ward is hiring a UI Engineer for its Woodland Hills studio. The dev is looking for someone with a strong technical background to develop UI for its FPS project. ...

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Check out the now open-source code powering UI layout in Heaven's Vault

Heaven's Vault dev inkle Studios has released SLayout, the Unity UI layout and animation system used in the game, on GitHub. ...

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Midweek Madness - Dead Cells, 33% Off

Save 33% on Dead Cells during this week's Midweek Madness*!

In this rogue-lite, metroidvania action-platformer, you'll explore a sprawling, ever-changing castle... assuming you’re able to fight your way past its keepers in 2D souls-lite combat. No checkpoints. Kill, die, learn, repeat.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time

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Hitman: Blood Money leads the latest Xbox One backward compatibility releases

Hitman Blood Money and Lego Star Wars 3: The Clones Wars are the latest games to make the Xbox One backward compatibility list, Microsoft has revealed.

Blood Money, if you'd briefly like to me accompany down memory lane, is the fourth instalment in IO Interactive's celebrated Hitman series, and released all the way back in 2006.

On a fundamental level, it's business as usual for Agent 47, offering another open-ended, atmospheric game of cat and mouse as you attempt to fulfil contracts and eliminate targets as stealthily as possible. However, IO did at least find time to refine its rock solid formula, including the likes of a new notoriety system.

Read more…

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Don't Miss: How Bloodborne's design makes you the experience points

This 2015 breakdown takes us on a tour of Bloodborne's design -- and that of the Souls series as a whole -- to explain what makes the games work as well as they do. ...

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Road to the IGF: Playables' Kids

Nuovo Award-nominated Kids is a game of crowds - of exploring our relationships in terms of our positions we take relative to one another. ...

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Developers: We Want to See Your Games at GDC, Book a Meeting With Us!

Yesterday we announced all of our GDC plans including a party sponsored by Jam City! If you're going to be in San Francisco, we'd love it if you came out. The party is going to be at Bin 55 which is the hotel lobby bar of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. It's a great space, as the massive lobby area allows for loads of room to mingle without being super cramped. The party kicks off at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, March 21st and runs until last call. (From there, usually there's a contingent of folks who wander off to Denny's to keep the party rolling.) Jam City will be giving out a limited number of drink tickets, have a prize wheel, and other fun stuff like GDC themed cocktails. You don't want to miss it.

TouchArcade tradition is if you're coming to our party, you should bring stickers to trade with other developers of your game icon. The preferred place to get these printed is Sticker Mule as their 2" x 2" rounded corner sticker is about perfect for immediate printing of your icon art. Of course, you don't need to bring stickers, folks have just mentioned it makes for a fabulous ice breaker! I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy our GDC parties, we don't do any kind of invite list, and everyone is welcome, so the crowd often skews towards scrappy indies who aren't able to get on any of the lists of other invite-only parties... Which I absolutely love! That level of inclusivity is what we're all about. If you make or play mobile games of any kind, you're welcome!

Anyway, this year we gave TouchArcade Patreon supporters first crack at booking meetings with us, and there's still plenty of room in the schedule for everyone else! Like every GDC, we're specifically looking for people to book meetings with us who have new, unreleased games or significant unreleased updates to existing titles. If you've got something to show off that you're comfortable with us recording video of, mash this link, choose a time, and fill out the form to book a meeting with us. We don't care how early along your upcoming game or update is as long as you don't care if we share it with our readers.

For everyone else who just wants to meet us, talk about a game that's already released, or whatever else, just come to our party! We'll be there!

Again, to recap:

GDC Appointment Information:

-If you have an upcoming game or unreleased update we can shoot video of book an appointment here.

-If you don't have a unreleased upcoming game or update, come to our party!

GDC Party Information:

-Where: Bin 55

-When: 7:00 PM on March 21st until last call.

-Why: To trade stickers from Sticker Mule and to drink free drinks graciously provided by Jam City (while supplies last)!

Last, but not least, Jared and I will be on Train Jam this year so if you're also going to be on the train we'd love to hang out! We'll have loads of time to drink expensive train beers, play Switch, and chat mobile games (or whatever else)!

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Report: Gameloft has shut down Gameloft Madrid

Just one month after Gameloft closed its New Orleans studio, rumors have emerged that the company has shuttered its office in Madrid, Spain as well.  ...

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Sony unveils God of War limited edition custom PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony has revealed that a new God of War themed custom Ps4 Pro will be launching on April 20th April, the same day that Kratos' makes his highly anticipated return on the console.

As is usually the case with Sony's custom PlayStation 4 efforts, it's probably fair to say that the bold, limited edition design won't be to everyone's taste - but your mileage may vary:

Sony is calling the design "Leviathan Grey", and it's apparently inspired by Kratos' in-game axe. A purchase will get you the custom 1TB PS4 Pro console itself, alongside a matching Dualshock 4 wireless controller, and a physical copy of the God of War Day One Edition.

Read more…

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Gameloft Reportedly Shutters Its Madrid Studio and Lays off About 40 People

Gameloft-logo-111 It isn’t far fetched to consider Gameloft a very important part of mobile gaming in general. I bought a lot of their initial games when they had basically mobile games that were pretty darn heavily inspired by popular games on other platforms. The App Store has changed over the last few years and Gameloft has struggled to keep up with how things have become. Over the last few years, they’ve had cuts to various studios. After the sad situation at their NYC office, a report from gamesindustry.biz has some more bad news for Gameloft with cuts at their studio in Madrid.

Gamesindustry.biz has reported that after closing Gameloft’s New Orleans office earlier in February, Gameloft has closed the Madrid studio. Since 2015, Gameloft has cut down or closed studios in 5 other locations. Eurogamer Spain has confirmed to gamesindustry.biz that the studio will be closed and staff has been notified as of yesterday morning. This is after Gameloft Madrid fired 40% of its staff last year. The closing happened with no prior intimation to allow the staff to look elsewhere.

It is sad to see these things happen to studios and the situation is worse when you look at what’s happened with some other Gameloft studios over the last few years. I hope everyone at Gameloft Madrid manages to find something. Best of luck to all the people at or formerly at Gameloft Madrid.


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Don't miss all the cool machine learning talks at GDC this year!

Come to GDC 2018 later this month and learn how top devs at companies like Naughty Dog and Ubisoft are applying machine learning techniques to make better games! ...

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Blog: Analyzing the AI behind Total War - Part 5

In the fifth part of my ongoing Total War series, I look at the modern-day combat systems and specifically the Siege AI subsystem in Total War: Warhammer. ...

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Daily Deal - Human Resource Machine, 40% Off

Today's Deal: Save 40% on Human Resource Machine!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends March 14th at 10AM Pacific Time

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Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath

In which I ramble about how Burn Jita went, you can scroll to the end for the pretty pictures.

Burn Jita has come and gone for another year.  Each round I seem to spend a little more time with it.  This time I was in for a bit each day over the three days of the event, sometimes at peak hours, sometimes when things were slow, just to see how things played out.

I remain impressed with how smoothly the whole thing runs these days.  Having gone through previous iterations in Jita (and once in Amarr) plus the general experience of MiniLuv, the high sec ganking arm of the Imperium, has led to a system that works despite the participants as much as because of them.

Back in the original Burn Jita in 2012 the gank ships were often things like Tornado battlecruisers which required a character committed to some training time.  That evolved into the current levee en mass approach with Coercer destroyers, handed out for free, used as the main source of firepower.

Gank fit Coercers on the move

Cheap, minimally fit, and flyable by an Alpha clone after a week of training, they are sacrificed by the hundreds and thousands for freighter kills.  At about 1.5 million ISK a copy, even sending a full fleet full of them at an empty freighter spins the ISK war is still in the favor of the attacker.  If cargo drops the op can generate a net profit.  MiniLuv’s day to day operations are a profit center for the coalition.

And one of the bright ideas that came up over the years was to encourage people create alts to fly in the event.  This doesn’t seem like all that big of a deal, but it has become clear to me over the years that people who live in null sec start to freak out about the complex set of rules that govern high sec space.  I lived in high sec for years and I couldn’t pass a quiz about the rules of sec status, criminal and suspect timers, who can shoot you when, kill rights, and whatever else governs the activities of people behaving badly in high sec.  Encouraging alts with the name BJBee <name/number> lets people off the hook from worrying about security status and what not, likely leading to higher participation overall.

And then there is how to tackle the issue of a couple hundred eager but ignorant capsuleers showing up without knowing what to do.  A post was put up in the forums with details instructions on how to get in the fleet, how to get your non-Imperium friend or alt into the fleet, how to get ships, what to do with your ship, what to do when you undock, when and how to shoot, and what to do after CONCORD blows up your ship.  The post was in the MOTD for every fleet and re-linked frequently when people had questions.

The fleets were organized into two wings.  Anybody joining the fleet dropped into the “Move Yourself” squad from which you were supposed to move yourself into a squad that matched your birth month.  There were squads for each month of the year.  The months were not significant but were just a way to get people to sort themselves out in a crude form of load balancing to assist in the distribution of ships.

To get ships you were to open a trade with your squad commander, who would then hand you five fit Coercers.  You would then jump in the ship, group the guns, load the laser crystals, and put the ECCM scrips in the sensor boosters, at which point you were ready to go.  When the FC said to undock, you would leave the station a float, using the invulnerability timer you have until everybody was out of their hangars, then the FC would warp everybody to an insta-undock point.

The Caldari police would start to appear after we landed, as we aligned to warp out to the next point.  The police were quick enough that I often took hits from them, and ever went into armor once.  However, they web and shoot, and webbing has the consequence of letting you warp off quicker once aligned, so few people were blown up there unless the FC was slow.

The next stop would be a gate if the target was in another system, a perch on grid with the target if that was the plan, or straight to the target if we were in a hurry.  Once headed to the target, the FC would call it out, tell people to overheat their modules and, on landing, lock up the target, approach it, and shoot.  For the runs I was on the target melted almost every time.  One Rhea jump freighter survives a first pass and another pilot, anxious to repel our attack, shot at one of the bumpers as we landed and got his wormhole bait Orca blown up by CONCORD.

After the latter our fleet was able to warp to a friendly citadel and tether up as the faction police crowded around and glared angrily at us.  (Except for that one neutral who couldn’t tether, they blew him up straight away.)  So another way tethering works against the game.  We got back to our station in Jita and docked up to await the next target.

Spot who didn’t tether

Basically, everything was structured to limit the amount of time the fleet was undocked and exposed to attack from either the local NPC faction police or third party players trying to defend freighters.  This was so effective that I didn’t even think about freighter defenders until Gevlon mentioned in a comment how people used to organize an anti-ganking effort back in the day.

As it turns out, people still do that.  There is an in-game channel named Anti-Ganking which you can join… if you’re not affiliated with the Imperium anyway… where people were busily trying to coordinate and shepherd freighters through Jita.  It has links to suggested fits and to anti-ganking sites and such and seemed reasonably active during the event.  I logged in with a neutral alt and joined the channel, and it told a sad tale for the defenders.  While they took the successful arrival or departure of any hauler as a success, almost every freighter they tried to defend from an actual attack ended up being reported as a dead freighter.  I did find the disdain they showed for the pilot of the Nomad jump freighter who got caught auto-piloting into Jita to be amusing however.  All sides seemed to agree that was a pretty dumb idea.

When things slowed down were dropping on obvious bait freighters, empty and buffed by reinforced bulkheads, sitting on the 4-4 undock and surrounded by defenders, and still blowing them up.  That was the tale told, why I had barely noticed any defenders.

I mostly saw people hanging around potential targets, waiting for us to drop on them so they could shoot us once we had the suspect timer up, padding their kill stats by claiming ships CONCORD was going to blow up anyway.  And, of course, people eager to scoop up any loot they could grab.  Mobile tractor units don’t defend freighters, but they were out in force.

Your loots, give them to me!

The most effective defenders I saw during the event was a small group of PL pilots in smart bomb fit battleships that were loitering around one of our insta-undock landing spots.

Watching us

Our FC got lazy and used the same spot a few times in a row so that we landed right on top of the battleships and lost most of a fleet of coercers.  But we all just ended up back in the station without suspect timers, so we re-shipped and undocked right away and still killed the target.

So maybe there were some big saves by the anti-ganking team, but the defenders sure seemed to be brushed aside, having little to no impact, when I was out and about.

While the main fleet was in one channel, while the scouts and bumpers and FCs were plugged into another set of coms at the same time, so the line members never got word of the target until we were on grid with it.  That made spying less than useful, and we had obvious spies in our midst.  There was an NCdot pilot out with us for a while.  He only got kicked when he started shooting us… but only after we were aggressed and going to die to CONCORD anyway.  More kill board padding I suppose.

Enough people turned out that when I peeked in on Friday there were two full fleets running operations against freighters, going out after every timer cool down, and an attempt to put together a third fleet to handle the overflow.

I might have marked this down to people not knowing about the event as there was no advance build-up to it.  But people were talking about Burn Jita in local in some obvious, difficult to miss ways, not to mention scams selling safe passes.  Friday was a target rich environment.

Lots of activity around Jita

Comparing Regions, The Forge Was Where Things Were Blowing Up

Saturday found the pickings getting a little more slim.  There was only one fleet running when I checked in during the evening, but it was full and going out regularly and hitting targets whenever suspect timers expired.  There was talk of a second fleet, but each fleet needs a certain amount of support in the form of scouts and bumpers and FCs and, compared to the Coercer flying F1 jockeys, those are a scarce resource.  Better to keep one full fleet going strong than divide the labor and have to less effective fleets.

Sunday evening when I logged in things had slowed down considerably.  It was already late on a work night for Europe and anybody who was going to figure out that Burn Jita was a thing already had heard and had taken steps to avoid it.  I was scoffed at in the previous post about the event for suggesting people take the weekend off if they wanted to avoid getting their hauler ganked, but that is literally the best response.  A Burn Jita without targets is a sad Burn Jita.  The way things stand, the only way to “win” is to deny them targets.

There were reports of people setting up courier contracts from Amarr to Jita with generous rewards… only payable on success of course… in order to generate some more gank targets.  I have no direct evidence that this actually worked, but people on coms claimed it was happening.

One entrepreneur I did see was a person collecting corpses and selling them in bulk contracts, no doubt for those looking to fill the corpse bays on their Blood Raider capital ships.

Corpses for Sale – Special Edition Mega Pack!

You could also find FC corpses if you were looking to fill out a special collection.  Of course, the character Frozen Corpse Trader turned out to be a Goon who had the foresight to set themselves up for this almost a month in advance.

Frozen Corpse Trader

Somebody suggested that this might be the most Goon thing ever, using Burn Jita as a way to collect corpses for resale.

And then at some point on Sunday night/Monday morning the last freighter was ganked and the event ended.  Ganking will now go back to mostly a profit driven activity in the usual locations rather than swarms dropping on any freighter than undocks.

I haven’t seen a final total for the amount of ISK destroyed over the course of Burn Jita.  There was apparently a problem with the killboard MiniLuv uses.  They couldn’t setup then event in it because nobody could remember the admin password and the person who owns the board doesn’t play anymore.  Somebody is no doubt doing a manual accounting.  We will see if it exceeds the 776B ISK reported blown up last year.

Reactions to the event, while muted relative to previous years, were predictable.  Amateur haulers railed against ganking even being a thing still while the pros either stayed away or chalked up their losses as part of the cost of doing business in New Eden.  One guy, who bought a bogus Burn Jita pass (always a scam people) and was subsequently ganked spent hours raging in Jita local which, of course, probably had the opposite effect he intended.  Meanwhile CCP Guard clarified CCP’s stance on the event.

To clarify, Burn Jita doesn’t violate rules. We balance Concord to provide a level of consequence and balance. There’s no known exploit to get around that. How ships are used in space is a matter of choice, both for those looking to cause mayhem and for those looking to avoid it.

On the ganking side, the particularly difficult or expensive ganks were celebrated.  The organizers were thanked for putting together tens of thousands of Coercers, handing them out, and then leading a bunch of amateurs around to see freighters explode over and over.  Screen shots from the event are everywhere.

In a surprisingly calm and serious discussion over in the EVE Online subreddit, the mechanics of suicide ganking were explored at the request of a hauler.  In that the mechanics of bumping were singled out pretty universally as the most broken part of the whole thing.  Other items were brought up, but that one seemed to not face much push back from any side.

Reading that reminded me that two years ago, as part of Blog Banter 74, I picked out the three minute maximum bump timer as the most important thing to come out of Fanfest in 2016.  At the time I wondered whether it would reduce suicide ganking or just create a new norm.

As it turns out, it was just a new norm.  Now you just need somebody a sacrificial warp scrambler/disruptor ship along with the bumper to stop their warp which, if I understand correctly, forces the freighter pilot to start the warp process all over again.  The freighter pilot is then stuck there getting bumped and unable to do anything.  That is decidedly unfun game play and something CCP should take another pass at.

Anyway, the space tourist in me went along for the Burn Jita ride as it provides some of the more spectacular scenes in the game.  I spent a lot of time with the UI turned off just watching things unfold… slowly, because time dilation was kicking in during kills which made each tableau all the more dramatic.

Screen shots for those who want a glimpse of what I saw and a comment section for those who want to complain about CCP letting this be a thing.

from The Ancient Gaming Noob http://ift.tt/2oPI4LC

5 expert tips for ruling the battlefield in Bravo Team, out today for PS VR

Hi there, my name is Neil McEwan and I am the Game Director of Bravo Team at Supermassive Games.

We’re really excited for the release of Bravo Team and wanted to give you some insider tips and tricks to help you survive in the warzone!

1. Teamwork


Bravo Team is a first person VR cover shooter with the feel of an action movie – and teamwork is at the core of the game. It’s up to you and a friend to survive as a city is thrown into turmoil. You’ll need to work together, delivering covering fire with constant communication, as teamwork is vital to your survival.

2. Tactics


We designed Bravo Team to give players freedom to try out different tactics in the field. However, there are some things you’ll need to bear in mind whatever road you take. Firstly, stealth attacks can be effective. If you kill your enemies with a stealth attack and without alarming them, it will prevent them from calling reinforcements. Read on for more tips…

3. Choose your weapons


Using the right weapon for the right situation is vital as Bravo Team challenges you across interior and exterior locations. Equally as important is making sure you complement your buddy. For example, a good tactic later in the game is for one of you to use the sniper rifle while your partner engages the enemy with a shotgun.

Sometimes you might find yourself surround by enemies. A quick 180 degree turn (pull down on the right stick if playing with the aim controller) will give a good shot on any threats behind you.

Don’t forget that if you play in Rookie difficulty your weapon will reload automatically. If you play in Veteran or Spec Ops, don’t forget to press Square to reload.

4. Movement and traversal


In Bravo Team you move by point to point traversal. Every time you move you make yourselves vulnerable to enemy fire. Choosing when to move is almost as important as where you are trying to get to. Work with your buddy to work out when best to move. Maybe one of you can lay down some suppressing fire?

It’s also important to note that there are two movements systems: weapon-based movement and head-based movement. Try out both to see which one better fits your style of play.

Bravo Team can be a physical game too. Sometimes you’ll have to physically duck and hide behind cover to avoid being hit by the enemy fire. Remember that if you can see the enemy, it’s pretty certain that they can see and shot at you too!

Height is always an advantage in combat. If you’re higher than the enemy, you will have a better shot at them and their cover will be less effective. This does work both ways though, so look out for enemies above you.

5. Going it alone


While Bravo Team is designed for co-op player you can absolutely play alone. You will need to make the best use of the orders system to coordinate with the AI partner. You can flank the enemies, use him to attract their fire, or keep him close to you, among other strategies.

We’re looking forward to hearing how you take aim and immerse yourselves in the world of Bravo
Team – remember communication is key so be sure to share your hints and tips with each other below, and remember, this is what you’ve trained for.

The post 5 expert tips for ruling the battlefield in Bravo Team, out today for PS VR appeared first on PlayStation.Blog.Europe.

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