Check out : Retro Asylum

If you’re into retro gaming and listen to podcasts, I’m pretty sure you would have come across Retro Asylum.

It’s a great podcast with a group of guys who love their retro gear and gaming and have a great sense of humor.

I’ve been tuning into them for about 8 months now and find it fascinating listening about all the systems they’ve come across or own, a lot of gear we never saw officially in New Zealand.

They cover all aspects of retro gaming, from hardware, software, peripherals, newly developed games (inc Amstrad!) and more.

I highly recommend checking them out. You can find them on all the usual social media platforms, including Discord – but the bugger about discord is that we’re usually asleep when they all come to life 🙁

 

Sea of Thieves : Thoughts

Sea of Thieves – since it was first announced it had my attention, but I was slightly concerned that would be it different enough than everything else out there to get people interested, and hold their interest.

Well, since the game had its Final Beta this weekend and I can reveal more info and a video (all previous Beta’s etc were under a NDA), I’m happy to announce its looking damn good and a lot of fun.

Graphics – wow. I have not seen such amazing water physics in a game. GTA5 water was good, but this takes it 5 steps further. The water looks real, acts real, and when light hits it, it reacts how it would in the real world. The main ship and character graphics look like they’ve been ripped from Team Fortress 2 due to their artistic style, but are very well animated. Their simple looking but very effective. Everything is very smooth and clear. Now, most games of this ilk, if you go under water, you’re either looking at fairly bland scenery or just cant see the bottom – not so here. When you’re near an island, the water is teeming with life and color.

Sound – everything that can move, has a sound effect attached to it – sails, ropes, wood, when people moving around on deck while you’re below, you can hear their footsteps etc. Music is played in a similar fashion to Red Dead Redemption – a small bit of background music will come on occasionally. If you like your sailing to be a bit more noisy, then you can select one of two period correct instruments and start playing one of 3 pieces of music (Ride of The Valkyries while chasing an enemy boat is awesome) and if one of your fellow crew decides to pull out a musical instrument at the same time, you both play the same piece giving the music a more complete sound.

Gameplay – very simplistic and yet effective. Switch between a sword and a pistol/rifle/shotgun quickly, access various other equipment such as buckets (needed when you’re taking on water), banana’s (for energy), lanterns (to see) and other options. When you encounter an enemy ship, thats when the game really kicks in, you can either attempt to get away by angling your sails with the winds for maximum speed, or fight it out – either with cannons, or just ram the other ship and board them.

When you die, you end up on The Ferry of the Damned, a ghost ship where you must wait a couple of minutes before being able to spawn back into the game.

If you are left behind by your crew, or fall overboard, you can spawn back on board courtesy of the friendly mermaid/mermen who appear.

Overall, this game is looking to be a lot of fun, with crew not working together (oi who’s steering/fixing the ship/bailing water), firing yourself out of a cannon to board ships or get to hard to get to places, getting drunk in game together and so on. I’m on board for it and hope to purchase the full game on the 20th when its released.

I have had someone ask if its a grinding game etc like WoW/Guild Wars etc – not really, depends how you want to play it. There are quests and treasure maps, to give you money to buy better gear, but honestly, I think if you were just in it for the ship battles and exploring, then you’ll be happy as a fish in the sea.

Now, for those on older systems thinking “crap, Ill need a graphics card/CPU update”, fear not. Its well optimized and runs nicely on my system (specs below) which is considered “crap” by many 😉

Intel Pentium G3258, 8GB DDR3, Zotac AMP! Edition 760GTX (2GB), Kingston SSD.

Rare have done an amazing job on this game, and I look forward to playing it.

 

Are You An “Unlimited Backup” Hoarder ?

“Unlimited” cloud based backup systems. Do you feel guilty about how much you actually use ?

Yes, they all offer “unlimited” storage for your data backups, and say its no problem etc but I personally feel kind of guilty about how much space I actually use with my backup supplier (BackBlaze) – yet, truth be told, I’m probably on the lower end of the scale in terms of data storage used with them.

The data I have selected for backup totals about 750GB, but only about 30GB of that probably changes in a week – its things like photos, documents, emails, purchased apps, along with a Veeam backup of my server C drive which really only houses one thing of concern, the email system.

Yet I find myself each week cleaning up the usual suspect folders (temp folders, downloads etc) to keep the back ups to a minimum – one bonus to doing this, is that it takes less time to do the cloud backup.

Do you use a cloud based backup solution ? Do you feel guilty how much you actually upload ? Is it all “legit” data, or are you using them as your personal “linux image collection” storage container ?

Digital cleanup

I like to keep my systems (well, primarily the home server) fairly “clean and tidy” as they can be in the digital world.

This means a regular run of CCleaner, check disk status (errors, usage etc), remove any software/files that are no longer required. And for this work, the server keeps ticking along, with very few software related issues.

This also keeps the backup’s size down to a more manageable level as well. (I use Veeam to backup the local C: disk to another physical drive, which is then uploaded to BackBlaze)

Recently I was cleaning out some folders and happened to run TreeSize Free, and to my surprise, found the following folder containing 8GB of log files.

C:\ProgramData\Intel\SUR\QUEENCREEK\inteldata

Turns out these files are generated by the Intel Software Driver package which a lot of users install to keep their system drivers etc up to date. And to be honest, I probably had it installed at some point. But I cant find it now.

However these files were dated on the day, and some I could delete because they are in use, indicating that the software is still running somewhere. (I’ll dig into this at a later date)

I just deleted the files anyway and reclaimed 8GB back, and shrunk my backups in one hit.

So, if you’re wondering why you have such a large ProgramData folder, this could be one reason why.

 

War Thunder 1.75 “La Resistance” released

Major content update also adds new game mechanics, maps, vehicles and sets stage for the popular New Year’s Marathon offering free unique vehicles to all players

Gaijin Entertainment released Update 1.75 “La Resistance” for its vehicular combat MMO War Thunder. Besides adding more than a dozen aircraft, new locations, and a new reconnaissance mechanic for light tanks, the update introduces the previously announced Ground Forces research tree for France. Furthermore, the update sets the stage for the popular New Year’s marathon, where players can obtain tanks and aircraft unique to this year’s event.

The French Ground Forces research tree starts with a staggering amount of 35 vehicles from Rank I all the way to Rank VI, encompassing early tanks of the 1930s as well as modern vehicles from the late stages of the Cold War. The production of the most modern model in War Thunder, the AMX-30V2, began in 1982 and it is still in service today with several armies worldwide.

Together with the French Ground Forces comes the new combined battles location “Maginot Line”, portraying one of the sectors of France’s famous fortification line against Germany with its bunkers, a small town and even a medieval castle. Another new location, “Middle East”, sees combat between a ruined city and an oil plant located in the blazing desert sand.

A new reconnaissance game mechanic has been introduced for light tanks of all nations, which greatly expands the teamplay value for this type of vehicles. Now, light tanks can transmit information about enemy vehicles to their teammates and can assist all allies with repairs on the battlefield. More information about this is available here:
https://warthunder.com/en/news/5193-development-new-opportunities-for-light-vehicles-en

The air forces of War Thunder have received more than a dozen of new machines, including the twin-engined World War II machines Yak-2, Yak-4 for the Soviet Union and the British Whirlwind. New post-war fighters wait for the US and Japan, with the F3D-1 Skyknight and F-86-F40 Kyokko, respectively.

To celebrate the festive season, pilots and tankers of War Thunder can obtain unique Premium vehicles for free. For pilots, the P-40C for the USA and a captured Fw 190 A-8 in the French tree are available, while tankers can get the British wheeled armored car AEK Mark II, which is equipped with a tank turret, and a German Panther tank that is disguised as an American M10 tank destroyer. Specifically created for the New Year’s marathon this year, these vehicles can only be obtained during this event by fulfilling specific tasks available from 22 December to 22 January. Further rewards include boosters, decals and 3D decorative items.

About War Thunder
War Thunder is a free-to-play, cross-platform, massively multiplayer military masterpiece with millions of fans worldwide, that allows players to fight their way across air, land, and sea in the same battlefield. War Thunder offers 1,000+ playable aircraft, armored vehicles and ships from the early 1930s to the Cold War, including ground vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s that feature technologies typical for modern tank construction. The US, Soviet, British, German, Italian, Japanese, and French military vehicles represented in game are carefully researched, historically accurate recreations of their real world counterparts. Fans can expect hundreds more added as Gaijin Entertainment commits to ongoing development via regular updates. Official website: http://warthunder.com

About Gaijin Entertainment
Gaijin Entertainment is the developer and publisher of the online games War Thunder, Crossout and Star Conflict as well as PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS and Android titles across several genres. The company’s diverse portfolio has received a range of mass media and game industry awards including such as KRI Awards, Gamescom Award and many more. Official website: http://gaijinent.com/

ARK : Survival Arrives on Windows 10 Store with Cross-play

ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED, THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR EXPERIENCE, ARRIVES ON WINDOWS 10 TODAY, ADDING CROSS-PLAY WITH XBOX ONE PLAYERS

Seattle, WA –  20th December , 2017 – Studio Wildcard today announced the release of the multi-million selling dinosaur action-adventure survival game, ARK: Survival Evolved on the Windows 10 store. Already available for Xbox One and Xbox One X enhanced, ARK is now an Xbox Play Anywhere title that allows players who purchase the game digitally to play on both platforms at no additional cost. Tied to the players’ Microsoft account, ARK survivors can now pick up their adventure where they left off, switching between their Xbox One and PC while taking their saved progress, Gamerscore, DLC, and achievements with them.

Additionally, ARK for Windows 10 version supports Microsoft’s cross-play feature, which means Xbox One and Win 10 players will be able to cooperate or compete on the same servers to capture, tame and train some of the Jurassic-era’s most powerful beasts, from the vicious Velociraptor, to the earth-shaking Titanosaur!

Windows 10 purchasers of ARK: Survival Evolved can also purchase its Expansion Packs including Scorched Earth and last week’s update – the derelict, malfunctioning underground world of Aberration, loaded with fascinating items including five new Biomes, 14 new Creatures and 30 new Engrams to craft. Aberration is available now for $19.99 USD or is free for download for owners of the ARK Season Pass.

“Aberration” Expansion Pack Features

  • Tame New Creatures: The intense radiation of Aberration has led to incredible genetic mutations, resulting in dozens of new creatures with amazing abilities! Clamber up walls & glide through the air on the back of a camouflaging chameleon-like ‘Rock Drake’, keep the dark at bay with one of four friendly ‘Lantern Pets’, or grab and toss multiple creatures simultaneously with a massive ‘Cave Crustacean’, or – if you are brave enough – allow the horrific “Reaper Queen” to impregnate you, and spawn a vicious male Reaper alien lifeform you can tame and control.

 

  • Craft 50+ Unique Items: Use cave-climbing picks, gliding wingsuits, and ziplines to traverse this new ARK. Learn advanced engrams to dominate the harsh environment, protect yourself with hazmat outfits, charge lanterns, flashbangs, batteries, glowsticks, railguns and much more. Thrive by gathering new resources, using fishing baskets, gas collectors, fortify your home within the caverns using cliff structures, and much more!

 

  • Conquer New Challenges: With the maintenance systems of this new ARK malfunctioning, earthquakes, radiation exposure, gas leaks, and Element chambers are among the many hazards that survivors will learn to grapple with Aberration’s varied biomes, both aboveground and below the surface. Gear-up to take on the horrifying threat lurking within the deepest depths of Aberration…

Since its launch into Steam’s early access program in June 2015, over 12 Million survivors have been stranded on the ARK island, wandering into an incredible land to discover how to tame, train, ride, and breed the 100+ dinosaurs and primeval creatures roaming the land.

ARK: Survival Evolved is rated “T” for Teen (Violence, Blood, Crude Humor, Use of Alcohol) by the ESRB.

Feel like riding a dinosaur? Join the ARK growing band of survivors in the community forums HERE: https://survivetheark.com/forums/

For the latest updates follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, subscribe to us onYouTube, visit the Website at playark.com and watch us tame and train leviathan dinosaurs on Twitch.TV.

# # #

ABOUT STUDIO WILDCARD
Studio Wildcard was co-founded in 2014 by industry veteran Jeremy Stieglitz and Jesse Rapczak, former Technical Art Director at Microsoft Game Studios, with the mission of bringing AAA quality to ambitious indie productions that are designed for core gamers. With combined 25 years of industry experience across multiple independent and studio-backed titles, Jeremy and Jesse have teamed up with other veteran developers for Seattle, WA-based and Gainesville, FL-based development studios that also include distributed team members across multiple continents. Wherever talented, driven developers may reside, Studio Wildcard intends to seek out and work with them!

Bridge Constructor Portal is now available on iTunes, Google Play and Steam

“Make no attempt to solve it.”

Headup Games proudly announce today’s release of Bridge Constructor Portal. The unique puzzle game is now available on Steam for PC, MacOS and Linux (9.99 USD / 9.99 Euro) as well as iTunes and Google Play (4.99 USD / 5.49 Euro).

To end our outstandingly long marketing campaign of the last two weeks, here is a brand new gameplay trailer just your pleasure. Enjoy!

And HO HO HO – since it’s this season of the year: Everyone who purchases Bridge Constructor Portal on Steam will also receive the original Bridge Constructor for free – unless it’s already part of the user’s Steam library. Merry Christmas!

Bridge Constructor Portal blends the laws of structural engineering and technology straight from Aperture Laboratories into an exciting new game experience. Versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStationŽ4 and Xbox One will follow in early 2018.


About Bridge Constructor Portal 

Enter the Aperture Science Enrichment Center and experience Bridge Constructor Portal – the unique merging of the classic Portal™ and Bridge Constructor™ games.

As a new employee in the Aperture Science test lab, it’s your job to build bridges, ramps, slides, and other constructions in 60 test chambers and get the Bendies safely across the finish line in their vehicles.

Make use of the many Portal gadgets, like portals, propulsion gel, repulsion gel, aerial faith plates, cubes, and more to bypass the sentry turrets, acid pools and laser barriers, solve switch puzzles, and make it through the test chambers unscathed.

Let Ellen McLain, the original voice of GLaDOS, guide you through the tutorial, and learn all the tips and tricks that make a true Aperture Science employee.

The bridge is a lie!

Features:

  • The merging of two worlds: the first Bridge Constructor™ with an official Portal™ license
  • Create complex constructions in the Aperture Science labs
  • Let GLaDOS accompany you through tricky physics adventures
  • Use portals, aerial faith plates, propulsion gel, repulsion gel, and much more to master the complicated tasks
  • Evade dangers such as sentry turrets, emancipation grills, laser fields, and acid

About Headup Games

Headup Games is a hybrid games publishing and development company providing players worldwide with the best content in the independent gaming sector. Active on all major platforms such as consoles, mobile devices and PC, the company has released over 100 titles since its establishment in 2009. With over 50 million customers served on mobile and further several million players on the PC and consoles, Headup Games is always looking to raise awareness and commercial success for developers thinking outside the box. More information can be found at www.headupgames.com .

About ClockStone Software

ClockStone Software is an Austrian company specialized in game development across numerous platforms such as iOS, Android, PC, and Xbox One. Their many years of experience with the Unity 3D technology allows for state-of-the-art graphics as well as efficient product deployment to various mobile market places. Their product range is multifaceted – from action role playing to simulation and puzzle games. ClockStone published their mobile game hit “Bridge Constructor” on Android in 2012 and have since developed two also very well received successors with their publishing partner Headup Games. Please find more information at www.clockstone.com .


Copyright Š 2017 Headup Games GmbH & Co. KG, All rights reserved.
“Bridge Constructor Portal” is being developed by ClockStone Software in close collaboration with Headup Games. “Bridge Constructor” is a registered trademark of Headup Games GmbH & Co. KG.

Portal Š 2007 Valve Corporation
“Portal” is a registered trademark of Valve Corporation 

“Nintendo Switch” is a trademark of Nintendo.

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. “PS4” is a trademark of the same company. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Preview : SuperTrucks OffRoad

Back when I first started gaming on an Atari 2600 (yeah, I’m getting on), thinking of someone in NZ creating and publishing a game was never on my mind. As far as I was concerned, all the games came from America and Japan.

Until I got my Amiga.

Now, when the Amiga 500 was released, game developers jumped on board from all over the world, with many of the best Amiga games coming from the UK. But NZ was still quiet on the gaming development scene, until approx 1990 when Acid / Vision software appeared on the scene. They had a couple of popular public domain releases and eventually branched out into the world of commercial development in 1993 with Skidmarks.

Skidmarks was an absolute hoot of a game, especially when playing with friends, it combined aspects of Micro Machines, Supercars II and most of all in my opinion, Super Off Road.

Since then, no top down/isometric racing game has really impressed me, with most either looking amazing but no playability, or too repetitive for their own good.

But hopefully, SuperTrucks OffRoad will change that – and being NZ made, be a boost for the local gaming development community, as there has not really been any NZ games mentioned much these days except for Path of Exile (an excellent MMORPG).

SuperTrucks OffRoad takes the Super Off Road concept and brings it to the modern age.

The developer, Meltdown Interactive, has been working on this title for the past eight years and in their own words,

after 8 years of blood, sweat and toil, and a lot of money and time, here are the fruits of my labour

There will be crates available in the game which offer upgrades, but are not necessary to enjoy the game.

There will be a premium version on Steam and a free to play version with microtransactions available on mobile devices.

Release date is the 13th January 2018 globally.

Meltdown Interactive Media is a game development company based in Auckland, New Zealand.

We aim to make addictive adrenaline-fueled games while developing a loyal fan base.