Steam Is Going Windows 7 and Up

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2018 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: windows xp, windows vista, valve, steam, pc gaming

Valve has just announced that the Steam Client has deprecated Windows XP and Windows Vista. On January 1st, the Steam Client will stop playing video games unless you upgrade to at least Windows 7. They have also announced that new features, like the updated Steam Chat, currently in Beta, will not be brought to those platforms, because why would they bother when they’re going to obsolete in about six-and-a-half months? Don’t poke it if it works, and fix what doesn’t.

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The pun writes itself...

Linux and macOS are still fine of course.

In terms of market share numbers, 32-bit Windows XP is sitting at around 0.34%; Windows Vista is unlisted. I doubt this will affect many of our viewers unless they have a “retro PC hobby”. Still, to some extent, it sucks that DRM shuts down games that could otherwise run on the target environment. It’s not like they can just make the games DRM-free for the affected OSes, though, but it’s still something to think about.

And, yes, both OSes (XP SP3 and Vista SP2) are already deprecated by Microsoft.

So Fortnite Is a Big Game...

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2018 - 08:36 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, fortnite

According to the market research firm, SuperData, Fortnite brought in $296 million USD across all platforms (which currently means PC, console, and iOS) for the month of April. Just April. If you add March and April together, then it would be over half of a billion dollars.

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If it’s not clear why Epic’s other game, Paragon, was shut down with full refunds

This news comes a few days after Epic Games announced that it earmarked $100 million for Fortnite eSports competitions. The prize pool will be spread out over multiple events in the 2018-2019 season. I… I think I know where they got the money from. It still seems to be on the rise, too.

And yet, it’s still only 5th place on the PC ranking list, with League of Legends still at the top.

Source: SuperData

Killer7 Remastered Coming to PC. Maybe Controversy?

Subject: General Tech | May 28, 2018 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, suda51, killer7, dolphin

Ahead of E3, which is becoming the hip thing to do the last several years, SUDA51 has announced that Killer7 would be remastered and coming to Steam this Autumn (2018). The game was originally released 13 years ago, back in July 2005, for the GameCube and PS2.

It was his first game to be released outside of Japan.

There’s also an interesting bit of controversy surrounding this trailer. Apparently, around 52 seconds in, some footage appears to be accidentally watermarked with Dolphin’s framerate meter. This would imply that the footage was taken from the emulator, which then raises several questions… if the final game uses the Dolphin Emulator or some of its technology.

The question that seems to be asked the most is whether the studio will run into licensing issues by using the open-source software’s code. VentureBeat did an interesting discussion on this topic, although they seem to assume that the emulator would be used like GIMP opens an image. It could very well be used as a library, which would be a whole other can of worms… although I’m pretty sure an established developer and publisher is smart enough to avoid that.

But, no, there is another question: What exactly does the “remaster” qualifier refer to if it’s compatible with a GameCube emulator. You would think that there would be limits on the types of assets that could be loaded if the engine still thinks it’s running on a Dolphin-compatible console.

Or maybe not. I don’t know. And honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The game will come in some state, and it’s up to you whether it’s worth whatever money they ask for when that day comes.

And it will come, apparently, Autumn 2018.

Source: VentureBeat

It's an Unreal Deal! Heh Heh Heh

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2018 - 10:29 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, epic games, unreal

Seriously, though. Epic Games has just made Unreal Gold available for free on Steam and GoG if you add it to your library before the deal ends. If you have seen our posts about Origin’s “On the House” promotions, then it shouldn’t be too shocking. Still, it’s a good game and you can’t beat 100% off.

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Image Credit: UnrealWiki

This aligns with Unreal’s 20th anniversary. The first-person shooter launched on May 22nd, 1998. It was apparently well-received at the time, although people complained that the online multiplayer had issues with lag (and so forth). This feedback lead to Epic’s next title: Unreal Tournament.

As you can probably guess – that title did very well with multiplayer.

Unreal had a sequel, developed by Legend Entertainment (before they were shut down by Atari / Infogrames) called Unreal II: The Awakening. I’ve… never played that one, although it apparently had a dedicated fanbase of its XMP multiplayer expansion.

Source: Epic Games

Potentially Worthwhile E3 2018 Events

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2018 - 06:43 PM |
Tagged: E3, e3 2018, pc gaming

E3 is almost upon us. In fact, we’re well into the “leaks before the show” (intentional and unintentional) block of the calendar, so we already have a good idea what franchises many of the major studios plan to announce new entries for. EA will have Battlefield V. Bethesda will have RAGE 2. Nintendo will have a couple of live streams because who needs a stage. PC Gamer will have a press conference because they want a stage.

All that good stuff.

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So what are those times?

EA: June 9th (Saturday) at 2:00 PM EDT / 11:00 am PDT / 6:00 PM UTC

Microsoft: June 10th (Sunday) at 4:00 PM EDT / 1:00 PM PDT / 8:00 PM UTC

Bethesda: June 10th (Sunday) at 9:30 PM EDT / 6:30 PM PDT / 1:30 AM UTC

Devolver: June 10th (Sunday) at 11:00 PM EDT / 8:00PM PDT / 3:00 AM UTC

Square Enix: June 11th (Monday) at 1:00 PM EDT / 10:00 AM PDT / 5:00 PM UTC

Ubisoft: June 11th (Monday) at 4:00 PM EDT / 1:00 PM PDT / 8:00 PM UTC

PC Gaming: June 11th (Monday) at 6:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM PDT / 10:00 PM UTC

Sony: June 11th (Monday) at 9:00 PM EDT / 6:00 PM PDT / 1:00 AM UTC

Nintendo: June 12th (Tuesday) at 12:00 PM EDT / 9:00 AM PDT / 4:00 PM UTC

Both YouTube and Twitch will also return to E3 2018. Beyond streaming the keynotes, they will also have various panels and interviews to talk about how hyped they are for specific games. Basically, they are taking the role that G4 once had, during the mid-to-late-aught years. Admittedly, it’s hard to get as excited for the event as I was back then, but it’s still a big time for gaming news.

So what do you hope to see?

"Five Layers of" UWP DRM Cracked

Subject: General Tech | February 18, 2018 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: DRM, pc gaming, uwp, arxan

TorrentFreak is reporting that the software piracy group, CODEX, has broken the MSStore, UWP, EAppX, XBLive, and Arxan copy protection mechanisms protecting Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection. Because this is the first and currently only case of an Arxan-protected title being cracked, TorrentFreak is cautious to claim that the copy protection is broken, just in case there’s a flaw in this specific title that allowed circumvention.

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Image Credit: LadyOfHats via Wikipedia (Public Domain license)

That said, piracy groups are smart engineers, and DRM essentially amounts to saying, “I’m giving you all the pieces required to unlock this content, but I’m doing it in a way that you hopefully won’t figure out”. At least with most encryption, there are some components (keys and passwords) that are never public, and they are required to unlock the content. DRM doesn’t have that option, because otherwise no-one would be able to use the content it “protects”. (Then there’s also the whole “what are you spending and what are you hoping to gain by using DRM” argument that is often overlooked, because exerting control often correlates with a decline in sales, but that’s another discussion.)

Regardless, CODEX claims that this is the first time a UWP titles has been successfully pirated. It took about four months after its release, but it eventually happened.

Source: TorrentFreak

Steam's Lunar New Year Sale Started Today

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2018 - 09:50 PM |
Tagged: valve, pc gaming, steam sale, steam

If you need more games that you purchased on sale but probably will never play, then Valve’s Lunar New Year sale is for you. Year of the Dog is the theme, and so most of the promoted games have dogs in them. Yes, Half Life 2’s robot counts – Valve’s 2004 classic is currently sitting at 90% off.

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Personally, I just picked up Okami HD. I was interested in this game when it first came out, but I was purposely avoiding console titles, so I just kept waiting. I just found out that it was released on the PC back in December, and it’s now 30% off its regular price. Good enough for me!

It’s cute that Valve is going back to some sort of meaning in their sales. These sorts of things used to be conversation starters. I don’t know, but it felt like a lot of the Steam Sales lately became… sterile. It feels odd to describe a sale as an experience, but they kind-of were at times.

Or maybe I just like puppies. I dunno.

Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 Raised Over $2.26 Million

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2018 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: speedrun, pc gaming, gdq, charity

This winter’s event set another new record for Games Done Quick. The current total, although they leave the donation form open a little while after the event for late entries, is $2,263,633.19 USD. This is the sum of 44471 donations from 32286 unique donors. The previous record was set a year ago at January’s AGDQ 2017: $2,222,791.52 USD. The current record set for a Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) event, typically held in July, is $1,792,342.37 USD.

AGDQ 2018, like the previous eight AGDQs, benefits the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

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The premise of these events is simple – the organizers bring in enough video game speedrunners to run a 24-hour stream for almost a solid week. These segments can be several hours or just a handful of minutes, depending on how long it takes to accomplish the set goal. While most are typical speedruns for a well-known category, some of them are races, some of them are glitch expositions, and some of them even force the runner to play in a non-typical way, such as blind-folded or two different games on a single controller.

If you're interested in the runs, then check out their YouTube channel.

Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 Begins Today!

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2018 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: gdq, pc gaming

If you’re looking for something to occupy the gaps between our CES posts, then how about watching video games being beaten quickly? Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 begins today at 11:30 AM EST with a pre-show discussion that is hosted by SpikeVegeta, Blechy, Protomagicalgirl, and JHobz. They typically go over what they expect will be the most interesting games and timeslots, and why, as well as hype up some of the donation perks and prizes.

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The previous Awesome Games Done Quick, from January 2017, broke 2.2 million dollars in donations. Apart from a blip in January 2016, the amount raised has steadily increased each year. It will be interesting to see whether this year will reach a new high, and what peak we’ll eventually settle at, if one will ever exist.

This event, like the previous seven, will benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Typically, it’s Prevent Cancer Foundation in January and Doctors Without Borders in July, but they have also done a few special events, like for the natural disasters that struck Japan (2011) and Houston, Texas (2017).

Probably the most interesting chunk for me will be on the last day, Saturday, January 13th. Starting at about 4pm, they will have Final Fantasy 4, Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Mario World back-to-back-to-back. Of the three, A Link to the Past is particularly special, because they will be using an item randomizer mod. The runners will not know which chest contains which item ahead of time, just that it is possible to complete the game with the order provided, and each runner will have the same randomized locations. This means that runners will need some luck, because they could take a shortcut hoping that they will stumble across a required item on the way there. If not? They then need to go hunting for it, wasting time.

It was quite something the last time I saw it. And yes, there are many PC games, too.

MechWarrior 5 Preview and Trailer from Mech_Con 2017

Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2017 - 07:14 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, Mechwarrior, mechwarrior 5

Last year, we covered the announcement of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. We noted that, because the game takes place in 3015, it would have a fairly-reduced equipment set compared to what we have seen in MechWarrior 3 and 4. Apparently that’s not entirely accurate, as a new batch of info has dropped during Mech_Con 2017 in Vancouver.

According to reports, like this one from Engadget, the game starts in 3015, but lasts about 35 in-game years.

But the game won’t really have a linear story, as seen in the previous entries. Rather than having the player run a scripted narrative, the intent is to let them build their own mercenary squad and do contracts for the Great Houses on their own terms (and with four-player co-op, although AI companions can be used if desired). I… don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it could be an interesting, unique experience. On the other hand, I kind-of want a new, linear story in the Battletech universe.

Also, they mentioned that it will support user-created mods. Given that it's based on Unreal Engine 4, that should be a fairly large level of mod support. This will apparently include new missions, environments, and so forth.

It was also re-announced that MW5 will launch in 2018 – now more specifically: December.

Source: Engadget