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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for reading about videogames and NOTHING ELSE.

Time dilation (tidi) is a feature of EVE Online people don’t often mention. Those massive battles you occasionally see screenshots of? They’re running at a tiny low speed so the server can keep everything synced when so many players are in one place. That leads to action reports of the game’s battles being pretty special.

21:10

Tiberius Stargazer of NC. has been passing the time during TiDi by making a chicken pie from scratch, including pastry while using his super in M-O. PL are passing the time by watching fleet members stream Final Fantasy, while Dirk Macgirk is considering setting up his Christmas tree and making pasta and meatballs. This is from a MacGirk secret recipe that he was not able to share with Imperium News

Letter series’ make me want to claw out my eyes, but the format is worth suffering for this discussion between Austin Walker and Cameron Kunzelman about what Watch Dogs 2 gets right and wrong about race.

Over a beach party celebration, Marcus and Horatio realize that, oh shit, there’s another black hacker in the group now, and then smoothly slip into the familiar and comforting cadence of black folks talking. It’s a scene that highlights something that I think many depictions of code-switching miss: For those of us who navigate white America all day, a surprise chance to talk to other black folks is fun. They laugh and joke and talk over the heads of the rest of the crew—never derisively, but in a “this is for us” way.

Robert Yang has been busy. The developer – and occasional RPS writer – wrote this past week about how to foster a more progressive future for VR.

Imagine video games except AAA titles barely exist, and thus no one can pointlessly compare you to them… and that’s the current state of VR.

If we get in early enough, we can define the general public’s first significant impressions of VR, and influence how people value VR experiences. We need to develop the theory, the language, and the touchstones that others will have to adopt in order to seem fluent — we need to be the new normal here, and we could possibly do it, because no one else has defined the norms yet.

Most of Yang’s games have been banned from Twitch streaming, due to ambiguous and selectively-enforced rules about content. He’s decided to try to change the platform from the inside, the upshot of which is that he’s doing a regular livestreaming show about level design called “Level With Me”. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the name of the series he wrote for us. The livestream episodes are being archived on YouTube and the first two, dealing with the opening chapters of Half-Life, are available now.

Every Wednesday at 6 PM EST (3 PM PST, 11 PM GMT) I’m going to play some kind of level design-y game (usually a first person game) and offer a bunch of commentary on the environment art, the floorplan, the lighting, etc. and hopefully it’ll be interesting to watch. Eventually, I might even host guests, or do some level design during the broadcast, etc.

At PC Gamer, Craig Lager writes about his experience battling a former F1 driver in iRacing. iRacing is a long-running subscription based racing sim, by the way.

The worst and most impossible thing has happened. My hands are actually sweating into my Halfords racing gloves. I know it’s absurd to be this worked up over an online race, and to have to wear gloves while sitting at my computer. The thing is, I’m on the grid directly behind Rubens Barrichello. The actual one. The actual F1 driver Rubens Barrichello.

The Guardian asked 50 game developers what their favourite game of the year was. I like these lists less for the impression of consensus they create than for the outliers they throw up.

Dragon Quest Builders is my favourite game this year, and I see it as one of the best of 2016. Some may see it as an IP mashup with nothing outstandingly new to offer, but it’s an incredibly polished game that moulds RPG and Builder genres into a wonderfully endearing adventure. It’s one of the very few games I can say I’ve completed, after spending every available moment building up my towns and caring for my people.

Our Alex Wiltshire escaped from the basement long enough to write about the archaeologists of Skyrim for Eurogamer, those modders who aim to revive cut content. Don’t worry, we’ve recaptured him since.

“Ah, yes. I’ve been asked about Rune a number of times,” Roger Libiez tells me. Otherwise known as Arthmoor, Libiez is one of Skyrim’s leading modders, author of Unofficial Skyrim Patch, Alternate Start – Live Another Life and Open Cities, some of the first stops for any new install of the game on PC. He’s also behind Cutting Room Floor, a mod that uncovers unused quests, NPCs and entire villages in the game’s code and adds them to the live game. “If ever you had the feeling that Skyrim was missing something, you were probably right!” says the mod’s description on Nexus.

I enjoyed this love letter to the Source engine, also at Waypoint this week. It’s in a bit of a muddle about corridors, but I just love Source.

Beyond the form-redefining indie and blockbuster titles, Source leaves behind it a modding legacy richer than any other engine. Like GoldSrc before it, Source proved to the industry once again that fans could make titles to compete with corporate developers. A fan-made reboot of the original Half-Life called Black Mesa provoked a wave of nostalgia amongst zealous fans. But Source’s crowning achievement in the modding community is Garry Newman’s Half-Life 2 mod, Garry’s Mod.

Shut Up & Sit Down are running a new donation drive, for which they have made a Christmas advert.

This is made in/for VR and I like it.

Music this week is Christopher Tin’s theme to Offworld Trading Company.

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Graham Smith

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