Month: June 2021


Half-Life: Alyx’s lights flicker just like they did in Quake, almost 25 years later A beardy old scientist in front of some monitors


In game development, it's important to recognise when not to reinvent the wheel. And so, 25 years after Id first lit Quake's grimy hallways with blinking lights, we end up with the fluorescent lamps of Half-Life Alyx's City 17 flickering in exactly the same way.

To clarify, this isn't just a similar effect. As spotted by redditor CrazyGiaky, the flickering lights in Half-Life: Alyx operate identically to how they did back in the original 1998 Half-Life—two major engine changes and 22 years later.

In Source—and, evidently, both GoldSrc and Source 2—lights have a set list of properties that can be fiddled with in-editor. The flickering in controlled via a string of letters from A to Z (with A being pitch black and Z being full brightness). By changing this string, lights can be made to emulate a candle flickering, a soft LED pulse, or as demonstrated, a harsh, broken fluorescent lamp.

For example, a candle might use the string "nmonqnmomnmomomno", whereas this particular effect is generated with "mmamammmmammamamaaamammma". 

Valve reusing code from Half-Life 1 is one thing. But the developer's engine has its own roots in Id Software's landmark Quake engine. Lo and behold, it turned out this method of breaking lights may have started with John Carmack's engine—but with decades of 2D games preceding it, it's more than possible this technique goes back even further.

We're used to seeing developers talk about taking huge, technically impressive steps forwards, especially when it comes to something as complex as lighting. Even so, it's sometimes nice to see that even after decades of progress, a simple trick can still fit the bill. 

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The best of E3 weekend E3 2021


We’ve had two incredible full days of E3 with another two days to go. But even if you’ve been sticking to the E3 schedule and keeping an eye on the E3 Livestream, you might have missed some of the announcements and reveals. Starfield anyone…? Here we’ve collected the very best reveals and news of the show so far and some of the highlights from the E3 Livestream as well as the biggest publisher showcases. It’s time to catch up with the best of the E3 2021 weekend. 

Day 1

Ubisoft Forward 

Ubisoft’s conference was packed with games news. The show kicked off with a gooey look at some Rainbow Six Extraction gameplay and a release date of September 16 this year but we also had a massive one two punch of new reveals. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is on the way in 2022 but the biggest reveal was a spectacular ‘one more thing’ in the shape of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. First announced back in 2017, this is an all new story set in James Cameron’s Avatar universe and is on the way from Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment in partnership with Disney. The game has been built in an all new version of the Snowdrop Engine we’ve previously seen in The Division so it’s going to be seriously pretty. 

Gearbox E3 Showcase 

We had already seen Borderlands spin off Tiny Tina’s Wonderland by the time the Gearbox E3 Showcase rolled around but the big news here was all about Eli Roth’s Borderlands movie. In a behind the scenes video we discovered that the movie is two thirds of the way through shooting and Roth revealed his aims for the looty series’ silver screen debut.

“I don't want to say what we're filming, but it's lots of blood, lots of guts, it's totally bonkers but also very Borderlands," Roth said "We want to make a great science-fiction movie. We don't just want to make a great video game adaptation. We want it to be a great sci-fi movie period.”

E3 Livestream Highlights

And the ESA and E3 Livestream delivered the goods too. With special appearances from none other than Ryan Reynolds and T-Pain, we’ve been entertained between all of the showcases with a collection of special guests. Plus, on day one we had director Jordan-Vogt Roberts unveiling the secrets of the Metal Gear Solid movie and how it’s taken years to finally realize his dream. He also revealed that he’s currently working on a number of other “games things and other IPs” so he’s a busy man. We also had the chance to watch two insightful panels on mental health and diversity issues within the games industry. 

Day 2

Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 

The first combo showcase of Xbox and Bethesda was probably one of the most exciting E3 shows in years. You know a conference is going to be good when it kicks off with a brand new Bethesda IP for the first time in 25 years. The Xbox exclusive Starfield was revealed at the top of the show with a 2022 release date and from there we were gifted with a smorgasbord of brand new Microsoft Studio games on the way to GamePass. Jack Sparrow is staggering into Sea of Thieves in a Pirates of the Caribbean crossover, Forza Horizon 5 is on the way set in an eye-searingly beautiful Mexico, Halo Infinite multiplayer is looking incredible, and we’re even getting a new Arkane IP in the shape of the vampire-filled Redfall. Plus, given that 27 of the 30 games shown are coming to Xbox GamePass, there’s never been a better time to get an Xbox Series X or S. 

Square Enix Presents

Yes there were plenty of other announcements as part of the Square Enix conference – hello Black Panther and Wakanda in Marvel’s Avengers! – but the big headline stealer was a first look at Eidos-Montreal’s brand new Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Come October 26 this year we’ll be taking on the role of Star-Lord as Groot and co. take on a fresh new threat. Instead of switching between characters, we’ll solely be playing as Peter Quill and, amidst glorious 80s anthems and intense gunfights, also make decisions that will properly affect the gameplay.     

"If you only play as Peter, you experience the team more like you would in real life," explains senior gameplay director Patriick Fortier in GR’s full preview. "When you're part of the team, you don't control the team, you suffer the team. Sometimes you influence the team, sometimes two will think alike and sway you in a certain direction… that feels rich for the Guardians of the Galaxy."

E3 Livestream Highlights 

Day 2 of the E3 Livestream continued to be unmissable. Singer Post Malone made a speedy appearance to get excited about new games and dab goodbye, and an in-depth Xbox showcase  retrospective with Robbie Bach, Shane Kim, and Ed Fries made us even more excited about what’s to come next from Microsoft. And if the new Life is Strange announcement from Square Enix left you wondering if you are ready for the emotional intensity of it all, the livestream panel on the mental impact of the series was a vital chat about how games make us feel.  

PC Gaming Show & Future Games Show 

And let’s not forget the double whammy of the PC Gaming Show and Future Games Shows. At the PC Gaming Show we saw, amidst dozens of incredible indies, the reveal of Rawmen, a third person food-based shooter where you can become a sentient meatball, and the ultra-stylish 2D space western They Always Run. Meanwhile the Future Games Show, presented by Troy Baker and Laura Bailey, showed us even more of Frontier’s upcoming dinosaur simulation Jurassic World Evolution 2 as well as the beautiful Grow: Song of the Evertree, and even more dinosaurs with the world premier of monster slaying game Instinction.  

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The most exciting games of E3 that are actually coming out this year Death's Door


Starfield is a full 17 months away. Elden Ring arrives in January. Obsidian is making The Outer Worlds 2, but its announcement trailer was a silly cinematic—we won't be playing it for years. That's often how it goes at E3, with big game announcements getting us excited for games long before they're finished. And that can be fun. But isn't it better when you get to watch a trailer and realize the game can be in your hands in just a few months?

Every game here is out soon. Or at least soon-ish. 2021! That's this year, and it's been a pretty quiet one for new games so far, but the summer and fall are looking up. This is the best of 2021 that E3 had to offer.

Death's Door

When's it out? July 20
Why we're excited about it: Bird with sword

The concept of Death's Door is just super cool—a crow whose nine-to-five job is collecting the souls of the dead. But then! A soul is stolen, and you have to track it down through strange lands. This is simply a beautiful top-down action game from an indie team that proved it knows how to make slick action in 2015's Titan Souls. Looking back, Titan Souls seems like a dry run for these developers really flexing their creativity. Death's Door is really leading the charge for #YearoftheBird.

Sable

When's it out? September 23
Why we're excited about it: The vibe. And no more delays!

Sable was once going to come out in 2019, and a full two years later we're finally going to play it. Sable makes a hell of an impression with its art style and lonely vibe—it's perfect for trailers, in other words, which makes us curious how effectively that translates to a full game. Shadow of the Colossus was a masterpiece of lonely exploration. Can Sable pull off something similar? Will Japanese Breakfast's soundtrack be the best game music of the year? Is that hoverbike as fun to fly as it looks? So many longstanding questions we'll know the answer to in three months.

Forza Horizon 5

When's it out: November 9
Why we're excited about it: "There are no tricks—this is in-game"

Damn, this game is pretty. The Forza Horizon series is a consistent delight—we loved both Horizon 3 and 4—and Forza Horizon 5 looks like an absolute stunner. Sim racing games tend to push PCs and consoles really hard, particularly when it comes to raw details in the car models, but Horizon maintains that pedigree while being much more approachable than a sim. We wrote a whole article about its tech here, but there are also some new features for online play that seem designed to make it easier to link up with friends and get racing. And you can design your own races this time. And there's a volcano. Can we play it yet?

Sifu

When's it out? Fall 2021
Why we're excited about it: Absolver was great, kung fu is cool

Sifu got a cool nightclub fight trailer at E3, but our interest is mostly based on conjecture right now: it's a singleplayer kung fu brawler from Sloclap, a developer that might be able to produce a really, really good kung fu brawler. We don't have a clear picture of how the combat system in Sifu works, but Sloclap made the complex, customizable fighting of Absolver, so expect something challenging and thoughtful. Unlike Absolver, though, Sifu won't include multiple fighting styles, instead focusing on a specific kung fu school, Pak Mei, with consultation from a master of the style—a detail we learned when we interviewed Sifu's executive producer earlier this year. Read that Sifu interview for more details.

Riders Republic

When's it out? September 2
Why we're excited about it: Extreme(ly goofy) sports on a massive scale

A lot of open-world games position themselves as "playgrounds," but Riders Republic's massive map is actually one expansive playground to do a bunch of extreme sports in. In Ubisoft's gameplay reveal we saw snowboards, bikes, jetpacks, paramotors, wingsuits, and parachutes. Somehow they all look equally fun, like how I couldn't decide between the hovercraft, kart, or plane in Diddy Kong Racing. Ubisoft is going big on player count, too. Those clips of several dozen players bumbling down the same hill on bikes reminds us of the giddy chaos in Fall Guys (but in a format we actually want to play). It's deliberately goofy, vibrant, and out in just a few months.

Inscryption

When's it out? 2021
Why we're excited about it: Confusion

It's a bit hard to get excited about new deckbuilders right now. There are a lot of them! But Inscryption looks bizarre and even scary, not things we usually associate with card games. The developer's description makes it clear we're in for something unusual here, blending a roguelike with "escape-room style puzzles and psychological horror into a blood-laced smoothie." When you learn it's from the developer of Pony Island, it starts to make a lot more sense. Likely candidate for a sleeper hit later this year.

Halo Infinite

When's it out? "Holiday 2021"
Why we're excited about it: Multiplayer

Infinite's multiplayer looks really promising. It's going to be free-to-play, a big shift for Halo. Some of the new inclusions are really smart: there's a training mode for introducing players to the Halo basics, and for the first time, you'll be able to set up bot matches to practice against.

The multiplayer footage we've seen so far just looks really dang fun—introducing some new equipment abilities like the grappling hook and a deployable shield, but largely sticking closely to the feel of moving and shooting in classic Halo. Hopefully Infinite's campaign is great, too, but this feels like the first time in more than a decade that Halo's multiplayer could be truly big. Also, it's just cool that for the first time in Halo's history, it will be available on PC day one.

Battlefield 2042

When's it out? October 22
Why we're excited about it: That part in the trailer with the jet and the bazooka

It's about time Battlefield was really good again, right? I'm not talking about Battle-old World War 2, I'm talking jets, tanks, and (apparently) freaking grapple hooks. Battlefield 2042 is going back to a modern (near-future) setting with a revamped class system centered around specialists with unique gadgets. That, and the fact that DICE is focusing entirely on multiplayer that supports up to 128 players, is very exciting news.

Battlefield is best when you're desperately fighting for a flag and dodging tank fire just as two jets suddenly collide midair. DICE's debut trailer totally embraces that attitude.

Death Trash

When's it out: August 5
Why we're excited about it: Death (also trash)

Honestly, why would you want to play anything cyberpunk when you could instead play Death Trash, a gorepunk game hitting Early Access soon. Aside from the excellent name, Death Trash looks like an RPG with a singular aesthetic, the kind of messed up world you're driven to see more of, even if you know it's going to be upsetting. More games that make it hard to sleep at night, please.

Soup Pot

When's it out? Fall 2021
Why we're excited about it: Playing with our food

When we said this soup looked hot, we meant it. Realistically rendered food makes us hungry, but it also satisfies on some deeper level. It's great when games can focus in on a simple concept and execute on it this lovingly—in this case being able to make something like 100 recipes, including grilling and skewering. That's right: we're going beyond soup. The recipes pull from Filipino and South Asian cuisine and were vetted with chefs, so you'll be able to make them for real, too.

Starmancer

When's it out: August 5
Why we're excited about it: Isometric colony building

Chucklefish's long-awaited space station builder popped up at E3 this year with a welcome Early Access release date announcement. Just watching space stations come to life in the trailer sells Starmancer. They look so cool—the pixel art conveys real personality, and it's easy to imagine scrolling around a completed station admiring it, like a thriving city in Cities Skylines. There's also a bit of combat and mad science in the trailer that hints at what you'll be doing other than building space utopias. It looks fantastic even before you find out that Starmancer is the product of a two-person dev team.

Lost Ark

When's it out: Fall 2021
Why we're excited about it: A beloved South Korean MMO finally localized

Lost Ark isn't a new game, but it's never been playable in the west. That's finally changing thanks to Amazon Game Studios, and we wrote about why that's exciting. The short version is Lost Ark's Diablo-style combat is a whole lot of fun in an MMO, and it has some other cool features, like relationships with MMOs and the ability to build a boat, sail the ocean, and settle your own island. Action-RPG players who blast their way through Diablo 2: Resurrected may want to give Lost Ark a shot, too.

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Razer upgrades Raptor 27 gaming monitor to 165Hz New Razer Raptor 27 monitor images


Razer has announced a brand new Raptor 27-inch gaming monitor at its E3 2021 show, a follow-up to its sleek gaming monitor from a few years back.

The new monitor is very much a like-for-like swap for the previous model, although there is one notable improvement. The new Raptor is capable 165Hz, a step-up from the 144Hz previously. It's not clear whether that's the result of a whole new panel or a moderate overclock out of the box, but I would guess the latter as the remaining specs are near-enough identical.

New Razer Raptor 27 monitor images

(Image credit: Razer)

Razer Raptor 27
Display size 27-inch
Display type IPS
DCI-P3 95%
Brightness 400-nits
Refresh rate 165Hz
Response time 1ms
Price $800 / £800 / €1,000

That said, Razer's now touting the Raptor as the world's first with THX certification. What that means is Razer put this panel through a heap of tests, 400 of them, to ensure it hits certain image quality standards. 

Seeing as not much has changed specs-wise between the old Raptor and the new Raptor—DCI-P3 remains at a steady 95% on seemingly evenly-matched IPS panels—I'm not sure if much has materially changed to secure THX certification. Still, you can at least be confident that this monitor is up to a good standard.

A little while ago I used the older Raptor model, and I have to say it's the stand that will win most over. It's sleek, it must be said, and comes with rear channels for cables and a foldable arm design. Oh, and RGB, of course. It does take up precious desk space over a regular gaming monitor stand, but hey, what some will do for a 1337 gamer setup.

The stand is sticking around for the new Raptor 27, so you'll want to check the refresh rate before hitting the checkout to ensure you're getting the latest version. Conversely, if the older model goes for a bit cheaper, 144Hz is pretty darn great, too.

Before you go, there's a new Razer VESA Mount Adapter, if you want to get rid of the nice stand you paid for in favour of a mount arm or something similar. To each their own. That's $100 (£100/€100).

Both will be available early Q3, 2021.

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Razer announces a powerful 130W GaN charger for a small fortune Razer GaN Charger


Alongside announcing its new Blade 14 laptop, the Raptor 27 165Hz screen, the BlackShark V2 Pro Six Siege, and its colorful Opus X headsets, Razer is also introducing a new charger. 

Yeah, a power brick. 

With a sticker price of $180 (£180) this isn't the cheapest way of getting power to your peripherals either, but you know, you do get that swirly snake motif on it, so that's something.

To be fair to Razer, this power brick highlights a recent shift in the industry and that's the use of Gallium Nitride in chargers—which is more efficient than traditional materials and thus doesn't get so hot in use. 

GaN chargers can offer high outputs because of this too, with this snakey unit capable of outputting 130W, although that's combined across the two USB Type-C ports and the pair of USB Type-A.

That should be enough to charge your smartphone, tablet, and laptop, although that does depend on how much each of those units actually draws. The USB Type-C connectors will undoubtedly top out at 100W, which means you should be able to charge some laptops, such as the Razer Blade 14 while leaving room for your smartphone and headphones as well.

Cut the cord…

(Image credit: Steelseries)

Best wireless gaming mouse: ideal cable-free rodents
Best wireless gaming keyboard: no wires, no worries
Best wireless gaming headset: top untethered audio

All well and good, apart from the price. $180 is a serious pile of cash for a charger, especially when a quick look around Amazon will find the likes of the Wotobeus 130W GaN charger for $76 (not a recommendation, just an observation.) It doesn't have the snake motif and has three USB Type-C ports and one Type-A instead of two of each, but it promises the same output. 

It's worth noting that the USB Implementors Forum is looking at looking to update the specification of USB to support high wattages, up to 240W in fact. While it'll be a while before that makes it into devices, it's enough to put me off dropping serious money on a charging break right now.

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BioWare’s new general manager promises to rebuild its reputation Gary McKay


In December 2020, Casey Hudson announced his departure from BioWare. The move seemed to catch everyone by surprise, including parent company Electronic Arts, which announced the same day that a search for someone to fill the general manager role left vacant by Hudson was underway. "We will find the right leader who has a deep love and respect for this studio’s heritage, who embodies the values of this team and who will help carry on the incredible legacy of BioWare," EA chief studio officer Laura Miele said at the time.

Today, BioWare announced that it has found the person it's been looking for: Gary McKay, who joined the studio in January 2020 as head of development operations and has been serving as interim GM since December, has been given the job permanently.

"I started my career in the industry with EA back in 1998, and it was so exciting to see the studio and company grow in the early days," McKay said in a statement. "I spent the next seven years with EA before moving on. But now you could say I’ve come full circle."

"I’m so grateful for this opportunity. When you spend over 20 years in the industry, there are a small handful of studios on your bucket list in terms of teams you’d want to work with—and BioWare is at the top of my list. This studio is unique in that it has an incredible history of building critically successful games and universes that are truly beloved by so many fans. For me, success is all about rebuilding that reputation, and delivering on that promise of quality."

McKay has previously served as development director on EA's FIFA Soccer series, according to his Mobygames page, as well as other games including Triple Play 2001, Total Club Manager 2004, Def Jam: Fight for NY, and SSX on Tour, and was the studio director at Tron: Evolution developer Propaganda Games. Prior to his return to EA, McKay was studio general manager and vice president of product at Vancouver-based studio Navigator Games.

McKay said his role as GM involves "setting a vision for the business, and then enabling the creative developers to do their best work as we come together as a team." He didn't say anything about what sort of work they're currently doing, however, except to note that development on Dragon Age 4 and a new Mass Effect game (which we already know about) continues, and that there's "more to come from Star Wars: The Old Republic."

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Starfield is a ‘bit more hardcore’ than previous Bethesda RPGs, says Todd Howard Starfield


We've learned more about Starfield in the past 24 hours than we did over the three years combined. At E3 yesterday we finally got our first look at the Starfield teaser trailer, which gave us lots of interesting details to puzzle over (including, possibly, a hint about the Elder Scrolls 6). 

And in a new interview today with The Telegraph, Bethesda's executive producer Todd Howard revealed even more information about the space RPG.

"It's also a bit more hardcore of a roleplaying game than we've done," Howard said to The Telegraph. "It's got some really great character systems—choosing your background, things like that. We’re going back to some things that we used to do in games long ago that we felt have really let players express the character they want to be."

That's not a great explanation of specifically why it's a more hardcore RPG than past Bethesda games, but it may still be welcome news to fans who sometimes criticize games like Fallout 4 for having more limited roleplaying systems compared with earlier games in the series.

Howard also confirms that, like Skyrim and Fallout, Starfield is a first- and third-person game, with players being able to choose which perspective they want to play in. And in the same fashion as Skyrim and Fallout, there's a larger story in Starfield and the freedom to put that aside and occupy yourself with other activities. "And if you just want to pass the time and go watch the sunset and pick flowers it's rewarding in that way too."

Howard also talked about how the look of Starfield's technology is futuristic but not so much as it would be unrecognizable to players. "So if you look at the ship – you can probably design a much sleeker ship 300 years in the future, right? But this has touchstones back to the current space program," Howard said. "So in your mind, you can draw this line between them."

And there will be aliens in Starfield. Not just alien critters or creatures as seen in the concept art, but actual alien races, which Howard (unfortunately) did not provide more detail on. But it sounds like it won't just be other humans you'll be meeting and interacting with as you explore the galaxy in Starfield. 

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A huge Elden Ring infodump just dropped Elden Ring


Following Elden Ring's epic reveal trailer, the game's director and FromSoftware CEO Hidetaka Miyazaki has given his first detailed interview about the game. You can read the full thing on IGN here, but we've picked out some of the most interesting things Miyazaki said below, and what they might mean for the game.

Players can summon the spirits of dead enemies

There's apparently a 'collectible' aspect to the spirit summons, and Miyazaki hopes players discover ones that suit their playstyle or just look cool. Miyazaki says, "…we also have a number of [alternative] elements, such as being able to summon the spirits of deceased enemies and use them as allies in battles."

We're not sure what kind of rules apply to the system, like how often you can summon and who you can collect, but we're down for some Disgraced Knight Pokémon. 

And there are online summons

The blue phantoms seen in the reveal trailer were in fact NPC summons, but online co-op is in there: "Of course, in Elden Ring, you will still be able to summon fellow players for co-operative play." 

No mention of PvP yet, but fingers crossed.

The player character is a blank slate

Typically with FromSoft's games, though Sekiro was an exception, the player character is already a pretty blank slate, but the slate is going to get blanker, somehow. Miyazaki says, in comparison to previous Souls games, they're "a little more of a blank slate for the player to project themselves onto." 

FromSoft's character creators are also always hilarious, so we're looking forward to this one.

There are six main areas, each the domain of a demigod boss character

There's a designed, apparent route through them, but "there are a lot of different ways you can approach each area. And there's a lot of freedom as to which order you tackle different areas as well."

Each area houses its own more traditional dungeon, where we'll likely do the more traditional Souls thing. It's likely the Arm King (the guy made of arms and primary antagonist in the trailer) is one such demigod, a child of Queen Marika who rules in The Lands Between. It's gonna be a blast meeting the rest of the crew. 

Elden Ring

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Stealth sounds exactly like Sekiro

Miyazaki explains how stealth worlds in Elden Ring, and it sounds pretty familiar. "You're able to crouch, you're able to sneak and be less easily detected in long grass for instance."

And yeah, backstabs are your reward for being especially sneaking. There's not much to add to that, other than that Sekiro's simple stealth mechanics seem an obviously good fit for an open-world adventure.

This sounds like something a Mimic would say

"You probably won't find Mimics in that exact same form. It's a different world to Dark Souls, but we hope to give you surprises in some way, let's put it that way."

So you're not going to get eaten by a chest. But if there isn't some sort of seemingly harmless item that noms unsuspecting players, we'd be surprised.

There's some sort of core progression mechanic, but it's not resurrection

In reference to Sekiro's resurrection mechanic, Miyazaki says, "We have a couple of elements in Elden Ring, which come from a similar kind of breed." He assures the interviewer it's not resurrection, though, so we're curious to know what methods for subverting death FromSoft thought up this time. 

As is the case with every modern Souls game, we'll have a home and hearth to return to. Elden Ring's take on a main hub apparently sits near the center of the map, the place where each of the six main areas branches off from. We're guessing it's going to be somewhere around the Erdtree if that's the case. 

There's much more to find than the six main dungeons

Besides the six signature dungeons, Elden Ring's open world will have a "wide variety of catacombs, castles, and fortresses" strewn about the map. Miyazaki says these range greatly in terms of scale, too. We know what to expect in the big dungeons, so let's hope FromSoft has tucked away some of its weirdest surprises in optional ventures. 

There's a fast travel system

Fast travel is back, but we don't know in what form. Makes sense, given the great distances we definitely don't want to retread a hundred times over, even if the view is nice. 

Character and build customization is super deep

Progression sounds a lot more open than recent Souls games, with the ability to "freely interchange skills between a large variety of weapons." Miyazaki says there are around 100 skills in total, which already has our minds running. 

These skills are probably an extension of the Battle Arts system from Dark Souls 3, which gave each weapon its own signature flourish. The magic system is open to every character as well, so as long as those 100 skills are distinct enough, Elden Ring's going to pump out more novelty builds than a Warhammer 40K figure painter that has no one to play with. 

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

We'll have more ways to heal, because the journeys will be much longer

"There are also more resources to recover health on the way as you will be fighting for a longer time than before."

A notable trend in the Soulsborne games was towards being more generous with healing items without compromising the challenge. When Demon's Souls launched having enough grass (that game's healing item) was a nightmare, to the extent Fromsoft later patched it to be much more plentiful, then designed the re-usable Estus system for Dark Souls. So expect Elden Ring to be very generous with the heal juice, even as the bosses kill you regardless.

Stamina is in, but less important

Here's an odd one. Stamina, usually central to second-to-second decision-making in Souls combat, is taking a backseat. Miyazaki says, "We wanted to make it feel less restrictive and contribute to that level of freedom more so than our previous titles."

It's hard to know what to make of this, but we're sure Miyazaki knows best.

Classic lore delivery methods CONFIRMED!

It's reassuring to know that FromSoftware is keeping things subtle. Miyazaki wants to "retain that sense of the player discovering things for themselves and enjoying uncovering the world both in terms of action and narrative for themselves."

So expect item descriptions. Lots and lots of item descriptions. And to study the very good floor we spotted in the trailer for a couple hours. Best get that art history degree now, before January 21. 

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EVE Academy is EVE Online’s New Tell-All Resource EVE Online’s famed battleships are in the background, moving toward the camera. IN the center is EVE Academy’s logo, reading EVE Academy. A subtitle below reads “Your guide to New Eden.”


EVE Online has been one of the cornerstones of online gaming for nearly 20 years. With a legacy like that, it’s not only rich in content and lore, but to those just stepping in for the first time, it might come across as fathoms deep. Thankfully, there’s a new resource to make your first steps, or even returning ones, into celestial combat more straightforward and accessible than ever before.

EVE Academy is a new, one-stop-shop for everything EVE Online in conjunction with EVE’s community partners for novice pilots and veterans alike. This comprehensive resource details career paths, resources for both newcomers and lapsed players, tips and tricks, and more all in one, easy to read and digest place. It contains articles, guides, and videos detailing all of EVE Online’s intricate mechanics and features for all players, wherever you are on your journey in New Eden.

Whether you’re a new player who’s just completed the tutorial, or a returning player who might not know where to go or what to do next, EVE Academy is an excellent resource for hammering down the basics and polishing your skills–and you won’t need an anthology to understand any of it (but we do recommend them for some out of this world puns). 

EVE Academy does this by breaking down four unique player career paths:

Enforcer: End of the day, this player earns their keep and takes names too. Enforcers are focused on completing missions, rising through the ranks, and making lots and lots of money from NPC Corporations. 

Explorer: This adventurer class is perfect for players who love to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy. They are specialists in discovering relics, data vaults, pirate strongholds, and shortcuts.

Industrialist: This career path scratches an engineering itch. Industrialist players are at the core of what keeps the EVE economy well-oiled and running smoothly. They are experts in salvaging and mining and producing and selling ships, weapons, and modules. 

Soldier of Fortune: For players who love PVP, this career path is a solid choice. These Capsuleers aren’t afraid of venturing where others wouldn’t dare to go. But where there is a high risk, the rewards are even more plentiful.

But it’s not just for skills and tips. EVE Academy makes diving into New Eden’s 8,000 solar systems more immersive, more fun, and more approachable. It has in-depth guides for character building, player-vs-player battles and interplayer wars, building industrial corporations from the ground up, and joining NPC empires.

A masculine character with a mohawk and goggles is superimposed over a planet and its moon in the background. In the foreground, ships are battling with one another, from right to left.

(Image credit: CCP Games)

EVE Academy also lays out an achievable roadmap of goals and guidance throughout its content. No matter where you are in your New Eden space exploration journey, there’s a resource to help you go about your extraterrestrial expeditions confidently.

An example of one of its roadmaps is known as “The Magic 14.” These are suggested skills for every EVE Online player to have under their belt. These skills are broadly applicable to all classes in the game, and will help keep your skill queue full. This plan includes details on skills related to armor, targeting, navigation, and more. 

Of course, as the game grows, so will the content available on EVE Academy. For all this, everything in-between, and even more, head on over to EVE Academy’s official website

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Itch.io’s Palestinian relief bundle wraps up at $900,000 A lineup of games from the Itch Palestine Aid bundle


Over the past week, Itch.io's massive indie bundle for Palestinian Aid has offered over a thousand games for $5 in support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's efforts in Gaza. On Saturday, the bundle wrapped up having earned a staggering $902,365.51.

Organised in the wake of renewed Israeli airstrikes against Gaza, the Palestinian Aid bundle followed in the footsteps of last year's Bundle For Racial Justice—an attempt to organise indie developers for charitable causes. That collection raised a whopping $8.5 million in support of legal defence funds in the US, but also ran for significantly longer than the Palestinian Aid bundle's week-long fundraiser.

The bundle was centred around Liyla and the Shadows of War, a game by Palestinian developer Rasheed Abueideh that explored his own relationship to the conflict. In Rasheed's word's: "It's Not Just a Game, It's a case and call for help". 

But the bundle also included literally hundreds of indie games, ttrpg's, experiments and otherwise—including big hits like Celeste, Baba is You and Minit, but also esoteric walking simulators and extremely cool text editors.

"Thank you so much, this was a huge group effort," bundle organiser Alanna Linayre tweeted on Saturday. "Special thanks to Rasheed Abueideh, Spencer Hayes, Leaf Corcoran, Rami Ismail, all the moderators, everyone who donated and volunteered, Zhenia Zankov for the art asset, and everyone who supported, bought, and retweeted the bundle."

Ex-Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail added: "This won't bring back anyone or anything, it won't stop future violence against Palestine, but it will help folks survive & rebuild right now. It will make a difference."

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