Nintendo issues DMCA takedown against Kickstarter for NES photobook

It’s been quite the week for the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, as Nintendo issues a copyright takedown against a Kickstarter campaign for an NES-themed photobook. …

from Gamasutra News http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/276233/Nintendo_issues_DMCA_takedown_against_Kickstarter_for_NES_photobook_.php

League Of Legends “Hacker” Avoids Jail Sentence

League Of Legends "Hacker" Avoids Jail Sentence

A 23 year-old Australian man has avoided a prison term over his role in a series of hacks targeting League of Legends and its player database.

The ABC reports that Shane Stephen Duffy, while found not to have been directly involved in the original 2011 hacks themselves (which contradicts earlier claims that he had been), has been found guilty of a range of offences related to them, including:

  • Operating a business which sold the account details of hacked players (he made 194 transactions which earned him AUD$32,000).
  • Hacking the Twitter account of Marc Merrill, president of League’s developer Riot Games.
  • Sending “threatening emails” to Riot Games.

While an Australian court found him guilty and sentenced him to two-and-a-half-years in prison (with a further 18-month suspended sentence), he was immediately allowed out on parole.

Duffy has been diagnosed with autism, and had been been home schooled since the fourth grade (his mother was “fearful of having him medicated”). Because of this, his defence lawyer argued “he was unable to comprehend the consequences of his actions”, and that “he is an offender who has less moral culpability.”

from Kotaku http://kotaku.com/league-of-legends-hacker-avoids-jail-sentence-1782922771

The Pros And Cons of Halo 5’s New Firefight Mode

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Microsoft’s big 7GB free update to Halo 5 yesterday gave the game a new PvE mode called Warzone Firefight. You can watch a full match in the video above. Initial impressions: mixed, leaning positive. There’s pros and cons.

You join up to seven other players for what will hopefully be five rounds of escalating action. Enemy waves drop in. You have a timer and a goal of which enemies to take out.

On the pro side, the game’s signature REQ system works nicely. It works in Firefight the same way it does in the game’s PvP Warzone mode. As you do well and as your team does well, you rank up in REQ level. At any moment during the match, you can go to a REQ terminal in the map and play any REQ cards that are are equal to or lesser in value than your rank.

So, for example, once I was REQ level five during the match in the video, I played a three-point card and was able to spawn in with this vehicle:

The Pros And Cons of Halo 5's New Firefight Mode

You collect cards by playing matches, by leveling up in the metagame and even just as a result of various Microsoft promotions. They even let you spend money on packs of random cards, but, really, if you’ve had the game and haven’t touched it in a while, you’ll find that you have a ton of free packs to open. I hadn’t touched the game in months, and this was what was awaiting me last night:

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The con is that, because the maps are scaled to allow for vehicle combat, they feel really empty when the Firefight mission starts. In the first couple of rounds, most players won’t be able to spawn any vehicles, so you can’t get around that quickly. Enemies will still drop in, though, and you need to clear them out before the round’s timer expires. The problem is that sometimes the enemies drop really far away, and so you spend a lot of travel time getting to them.

That said, the progression of this kind of combat in the early rounds…

The Pros And Cons of Halo 5's New Firefight Mode

…to this kind of combat in the later rounds…

The Pros And Cons of Halo 5's New Firefight Mode

…is pretty cool. I’ll be playing at least a little more Firefight to get more of that.

It might be possible to cut down on the slow parts of the early Firefight rounds if it turns out that enemies spawn in predictable locations. The slow start to Firefight matches could also be ameliorated by an extension of the late round action. Five rounds feels a bit short. Maybe they’ll extend that at some point.

Halo 5 is free right now on Xbox One, so if this intrigues you, give it a shot. Open your REQ packs before you start playing.

from Kotaku http://kotaku.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-halo-5s-new-firefight-mode-1782921361

Huge Amazon Prime Sale Date Announced, Will Have More Stock Than Last Year

The Steam Summer Sale might be on everyone’s mind right now, but it’s not the only huge sale happening this season. Amazon Prime Day, the online retailer’s huge summer sale that it claimed last year was bigger than Black Friday, is coming back for a second year.

In a press release posted on its website, the retail giant announced the upcoming sale and shared some details about what people can expect from it. It’ll take place on July 12 and will discount a variety of items, including electronics and video games. Just like last year, you need to be a subscriber of Amazon Prime to take advantage of the deals. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can get a free trial of the service here.

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Although Amazon states that 2015’s Prime Day was the biggest online event in its history, it was heavily criticized for poor deals and limited stock. As a result, VP of Amazon Prime Greg Greeley explained in a statement that the company is increasing the quantity of items that are going on sale, specifically televisions.

“Following last year’s record sales, we have dramatically increased the inventory behind many deals,” he said. “In fact, in the U.S. we have nearly doubled the TV units compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Even with this massive selection we know many of the Prime Day offers will sell out, so members should download the Amazon shopping app to receive notifications on their favorite deals.”

Additionally, Amazon announced that there are special incentives for owners of its line of smart speakers (the Echo, Echo Dot, or Tap). It has not specified what these will entail. The retailer will also hold a competition through Prime Music on Prime Day. If you listen to a song on a selected playlist through the Prime Music app, you’ll be entered to possibly win a trip to one of several concerts.

If you live in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, or Austria, you’ll be able to take advantage of Prime Day deals.

Amazon Prime is $99 a year, and includes free two-day shipping, access to Prime Music and Video, and preorder discounts on video games.

from GameSpot http://www.gamespot.com/articles/huge-amazon-prime-sale-date-announced-will-have-mo/1100-6441441/

Shenmue 3 Creator Gives Small Update on Its Progress

It’s been a year since Shenmue III‘s Kickstarter launched, and series creator Yu Suzuki has released a short video update on how development is going.

“Your cheers at the Sony announcement still ring in my ears,” Suzuki said. “Since then, we have been gradually bringing on new project members. Late last year, we began using Shenmue 2 characters to do simple battle and conversation tests on UE4.

“With our key developers on board, the prototype build started in January. It has been six months since the project has really taken off. Battle and facial expressions are coming together, and cheers from the crew are growing. It makes me feel it will turn out to be a good game.”

Suzuki ended the video asking fans to keep up their support. It’s not a lot of information, and the game sounds like it’s still got a long way to go before it’s finished. GameSpot will keep you updated as more on Shenmue III is announced.

Alongside the video, developer Ys Net wrote that Kickstarter backer surveys have not yet been sent, and it’ll be a while before anyone sees them. The survey in question will allow backers to confirm their reward details, such as platform choice and T-shirt size. An announcement will appear on the Kickstarter Update page, the official website, and Twitter when a survey date is decided.

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Shenmue III raked in a whopping $6.3 million on Kickstarter, the most any video game has ever earned on the crowdfunding platform. It wasn’t enough to reach its $10 million stretch to make it a “true open world” game, but Suzuki said during the campaign that he wouldn’t be disappointed if it missed the mark.

from GameSpot http://www.gamespot.com/articles/shenmue-3-creator-gives-small-update-on-its-progre/1100-6441440/

Pillars of Eternity Devs New Game, Tyranny, Asks “What If Evil Won?”

Obsidian knows a thing or two about player choice and empowerment. The veteran RPG studio is excited about the decisions its fans will face in Tyranny, the developer’s follow up to its acclaimed RPG, Pillars of Eternity. But Tyranny isn’t a sequel, it’s a whole new world and story, posing a “what-if” scenario where evil has won.

As another Obsidian isometric RPG, the developer wisely repurposed the Pillars engine for Tyranny while also implementing some changes to the combat. There’s no friendly fire this time and party sizes are maxed out at four, rather than six. More importantly, your main character can now enact combo spells with your AI-controlled comrades.

In true Obsidian fashion, you’re given a wealth of options and decisions to plan and carve your party’s destiny. It starts with your allegiance at the start of Tyranny, whether that’s with the rebels seeking to take back the kingdom, the Scarlet Chorus, a group that works for the conquering overlord Kyros, or The Disfavored, another evil faction looking to make a name for themselves in this volatile land.

Yes, evil has won, but it wasn’t a victory so absolute that it doesn’t have its insurgents as well as infighting among the victorious factions. Depending on your initial choices, one of the earlier missions can place you in the middle of a petty quarrel between the Scarlet Chorus and The Disfavored, who are both tasked with assaulting a rebel stronghold. Kyros’ solution to move this mission along is to conjure a ticking clock spell that would end the world if the fortress was not captured. It sounds drastic but Kyros didn’t conquer this kingdom by wasting time.

This rebel fortress’ immediate challenge concerns an entrance reinforced by mage spells. Rather than trying to blow down the doors with Kyros’ own mages, the game steers you to find a backdoor, by way of a scalable wall. Expect many of these non-combat field interactions, some of which will require specific skill levels.

The arsenal of a player-controlled mage is well-stocked with damage-dealing spells of varying areas of effect. Frequent use of these spells and even simpler actions like melee attacks will result in even better abilities, which is key in a game where character progression is based on repeated use of skills rather than upgrading a class. Equally lethal are the spells that do not deal direct damage such as an illusion spell that makes your unfortunate target feel like she’s falling. There’s also the incantation that can confuse lesser enemies to retreat even before a fight begins in earnest, thereby thinning the opposing numbers for an easier battle.

You can see Mage gameplay in the video, but check out Lucia the Archer and Kyperia the Fighter in these links.

In between skirmishes is a lore-rich story filled with classic Obsidian conversational decision trees. The variety of the factions alone imply a world steeped in gray areas and nuanced moral ambiguity. It wouldn’t be surprising if Tyranny’s end game didn’t result in the total annihilation of the rebels, though it’s just as difficult to see the freedom fighters restore the kingdom to their idea of peace.

With so many tenuous relationships and conflicting interests, don’t expect that every faction will be happy with the key decisions you make. While Obsidian has ensured that your choices will be informed ones, there will be many consequences you cannot foresee. For instance, killing key opposition figures in the interest of advancing your cause might make a lot of sense, but don’t be surprised if, unknown to you, family members from those you execute will forget your actions.

Tyranny is due out later this year for PC.

from GameSpot http://www.gamespot.com/articles/pillars-of-eternity-devs-new-game-tyranny-asks-wha/1100-6441250/