How Games And Simulations Will Save Us From Disaster

By Dan Grill on September 5th, 2014.

“Were you the one that said I was a super-villain?” It’s not the most auspicious question to be asked during an interview. But when I first saw Justin Lyon speak, at the GaME14 conference at London’s Imperial College, I thought he had a lot of the ‘90s corporate supervillain about him. Something of the Jonathan Pryce in Tomorrow Never Dies. After all, he’s handsome, waspishly-smart and wears the standard-issue accoutrements of a corporate overlord. And his company is called Simudyne, which sounds like Cyberdyne. And they mainly work for governments and huge corporations. And their slogan is ‘Engineering reality’. Even their logo looks evil.

So, Simudyne has the accoutrements of a 1980s villain company. But do they do evil? Well, no. They create simulations. Do people do evil in their simulations? Well, no, not intentionally. Looking at their carefully-anonymised case studies, you can see that they do it for all sorts of people, many of whom are either working for good, in government or in big business. (There may be some crossover there.) From a quick scan, I can see simulations covering disaster management for the port authorities of the Western US, training banks in counter-terrorism, managing deepwater oil drilling, and a recreation of one of Microsoft’s headquarters office blocks for simulating physical and cyber attacks.

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The Flare Path: Edges Towards Edgehill

By Tim Stone on September 5th, 2014.

Growing up in the Seventies my favourite comic was probably Meteor, my favourite story within Meteor, Paddy the Pikeman. Paddy the Pikeman was set just after the English Civil War and told the story of an unemployed soldier who travelled round England righting wrongs and solving problems with the aid of an 18 foot-long polearm. One issue he might use his unwieldy weapon to push a burning barque clear of a gunpowder-stacked jetty, or vault over a swollen stream and save a stranded Leveller. In another he might use it to support a sagging washing line in a brothel, or skewer a mewing moggy stuck up a tree. It was inspirational stuff. I found myself thinking of Paddy yesterday while playing the beta of Slitherine’s new 16th/17th Century TBS Pike & Shot. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week In Tech: Intel’s Haswell-E Is Actually Interesting

By Jeremy Laird on September 4th, 2014.

Remember when Intel’s top platform was relevant? When proper CPUs didn’t come with nonsense like integrated graphics and the Core i7-920 D0 was the weapon of choice for gamers and PC enthusiasts in the know? Good times. More recently, the LGA2011 socket and its CPUs have been irrelevant unless you had money to hose about with nonchalant abandon. Yeah, yeah, they’ve been the fastest PC platforms you could buy. But at a premium that massively outweighed the real-world benefit. No longer. Those good times are back. With its new ‘Haswell-E’ Core i7s, the new X99 chipset and revised LGA2011-v3 socket, Intel has finally delivered the goods that I, at least, have been waiting for. Haswell-E is something you’ll actually want to buy. Ride your rodents to the other side to find out why.

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Secrets Of The Ice-Pick Lodge: Pathologic Reimagined

By Adam Smith on September 4th, 2014.

I’ve been waiting for a Pathologic remake for years. My reaction to the announcement of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a remake was odd. I worried, I fretted. My concern was that a re-engineered version of the game would remove rough edges, sandpaper the strange angles and anomalies, and somehow expose the whole experience as more sterile, and less esoteric and unusual than the broken machinery of the original release. Now that the Kickstarter is live, here are details of a conversation with Ice-Pick Lodge about the project and the original game. Time to cast the major concerns aside, and to embrace the horror and the beauty.

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Salt: Hands On With Some Open World Piracy

By John Walker on September 4th, 2014.

I would never have imagined, just a few years ago, that we’d be spoilt for choice when it came to open-world adventure/survival games. I remember back in 2010 writing about my wish for more games that would just let me hunker down, find a cave, and survive the elements.

At the time, a few suggestions for games offering this were made, but many were very primitive (in the wrong ways), or far too close to management games. But now we’re overwhelmed with them! Just recently there’s been the mix of genteel to ultra-terrifying with Eidolon, The Forest, Darkwood, The Long Dark, Miasmata, Rust, 7 Days To Die, Nether, Project Zomboid, Don’t Starve… and now you can add first-person early-access explore-me-do Salt to the calmest end of that list. My thoughts so far, and 25 minutes of in-game footage, below.

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Dote Night: The Pinging In My Ears

By Philippa Warr on September 3rd, 2014.

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

A few days ago I was playing Dota as part of a group of four. The fifth slot went to a total stranger. Maybe it’ll be fine, we told ourselves. Maybe it’ll be alright, we thought as he took Pudge mid. Maybe it’ll be – oh God no he’s a ping fan.

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I Seem To Be Having Trouble Starting Titan Quest

By John Walker on September 3rd, 2014.

Titan Quest is a game I’ve gone back to a few times over the eight or so years since it came out. A straight, classic(al) Action RPG, I find it hard to fully justify why its calm ways engross me so much. Yet every so often it calls to me, so back once again I went. And found I couldn’t start. Not because of technology issues – it holds up extremely well – but because of that opening moment: it felt too good.

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Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Neuromancer

By Leigh Alexander on September 3rd, 2014.

[I've been doing a series of Let's Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that's one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

Interplay’s 1988 Neuromancer game is only very loosely based on the William Gibson novel of the same name. As it turns out, legendary acid psychologist Timothy Leary was the one who originally wanted to make a game about the book — he thought escaping into computer games might be the next psychedelic frontier.

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The Risen 3 Report, Day 7: Shadow Injustice Warrior

By Alec Meer on September 3rd, 2014.

I want to talk about fighting. No funny animals. No testicular adornments. No Matt Berry impersonations. Just good old-fashioned murder.
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Cardboard Children – Board Game News

By Robert Florence on September 2nd, 2014.

Hello youse.

There is SO much board game news right now that we really have to do another column that is about BOARD GAME NEWS. Company mergers, massive releases, re-prints, you name it – it’s all happening in the wide world of sports we call “Board Game Sports”. (We don’t call it that.)

Read on!

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Impressions – IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

By Tim Stone on September 2nd, 2014.

Ever since witnessing an unfortunate accident involving a home-built Fieseler Storch and a cement works chimney, I’ve made it a rule never to go aloft in incomplete flying machines. When it comes to incomplete flying machine simulations however, I’m a little less Beardmore Inflexible. 777 Studios and 1C Game Studios claim IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is now 70% finished. In an effort to find out what ’70% finished’ means, I’ve spent the last few days yoyoing Yaks, pranging Peshki, and sending He 111s to He ll. Read the rest of this entry »

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Invisible, Inc. Early Acccess Impressions:

By Alec Meer on September 2nd, 2014.

Invisible Inc is a turn-based, grid-based, cyberpunkish stealth strategy game from Klei, creators of Don’t Starve and Mark of the Ninja. It’s about secret agents breaking into sinister corporations to steal cash and data. It’s about risking everything and losing everything, but then trying it all again because you’re damn sure you can do better. It’s out now on Steam Early Access, and I’ve spent the last couple of days sheltered within its billowing trenchcoat.
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The Lighthouse Customer: World Of Diving

By Christopher Livingston on September 1st, 2014.

One word. One syllable. Sounds like: DARRRRRRRRK!

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, sharks, shoals, and silence with World of Diving.

When you start playing World of Diving you’re invited to vote on the next feature you’d like the developers to add. Most players have voted for a metal detector for treasure hunting. The second most-popular choice is an advanced camera. Least popular: an in-game chat feature. Frankly, I’d be happy if chat never gets added. While it can be great to talk to other players, I think there’s something to be said for a game that allows just a few friendly gestures and plenty of blessed silence.

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