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Week in Review (09/2015)

Unless you’ve been living under a Horta for the last week, you’ll have heard the incredibly tear-making news that Leonard Nimoy, the actor behind Mr. Spock, passed away on Friday. He’d had a good run though; 83 years-old, a successful actor, director, writer, poet and photographer, so we perhaps shouldn’t feel too sad. As Spock himself once said, “Change is the essential process of all life.” And what greater change can there be than death?

spock on bridge

Well, for certain nVidia customers, the change from 4 Gb of RAM to 3.5 Gb of RAM plus 500 mb running at a slightly different speed is an insurmountable hurdle on the path to gaming happiness, and so on Monday nVidia found itself looking at a class action lawsuit (ooh-rah!) for false advertising. The official specs for their contentious but otherwise astonishingly powerful GTX 970 list the card as having 4 Gb of GDDR5 VRAM. But instead of being one contiguous whole, it’s divided into 3.5 Gb and 500 mb chunks, with the latter part running slower than the main part. For some games, this results in performance issues (not the kind curable with herbal supplements), because the smaller part has fewer ROPs and a smaller L2 cache. Yes, it’s technical, no I don’t understand it, but I’m sure Mr. Scott would. nVidia claims it was a miscommunication between the egg-heads and the marketing peeps that resulted in this ‘essential’ info not being broadcast on all channels, Uhura.

Further potential legal bother then reared its head when Darkest Dungeon designer Tyler Sigman announced on Twitter that some right dodgy geezers were illegally selling the game on the Windows 8 app store /vomit. If you didn’t get your DD from Steam or Humble, you’ve been had. Slightly happier news came from Chris Roberts, who reckons that his impossibly ambitious-sounding USD 74m, (!) Star Citizen is finally beginning to come together. In his latest Letter from The Chairman, he stated that “We’ve talked a lot about how Star Citizen will come together from disparate pieces over the past year, and we are now entering into when that happens. I can’t express how excited I am.” As are we Chris, as are we. Also exciting, space-related news announced on Monday, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is to receive some kind of “connectivity” with the forthcoming Sid Meier’s Starships. Which, when you think about it, seems entirely logical. (Sniff)

sid meier

What would a week without some League of Legends news be? It would be a week without an opportunity for me to make snide jokes about the toxicity of its playerbase, that’s what. Fortunately, Tuesday was the day that Riot revealed their new LoL Champion, Bard, the Wandering Caretaker, who in the screenshots I’ve seen looks like a robot Santa Claus. He’s apparently a Support class… dude, but more than that I’ll let you glean from the official announcement, because it’s all Greek to me otherwise. Tuesday was all about riots, in fact, as Rockstar announced further delays to the PC version of their “magnificent octopus“, GTA V. Us handsome, intelligent PC-type people will now be getting our Mouse-WASD paws on it on March the 24th. The extra time is needed, apparently, “…to ensure that the game is as polished as possible, and to make certain that both Heists and the GTA Online experience are ready to roll out on day one for PC.” Of course, this does give you more time to prepare for GTA V by playing some… GAT V.

gta v

More drama arrived on Wednesday with the news that Capcom’s Resident Evil Revelations 2 would not feature local co-op play, after it had already been on pre-sale. It’s inclusion on the bullet-points list of zombie goodness on its Steam store page was, apparently, “an unintentional error“, and that it had been dropped at some point earlier in the development process “to ensure a stable user experience across a variety of different PC settings and devices.” Capcom are now offering refunds, although the damage has been done and the game is already burdened with an angry red “Mixed reviews” from Steam users (most of whom are probably screaming about it without having even bought or played the game. Humans. So emotional.). Happier news arrived from EA (never thought I’d write those words, tbh), which released the new trailer for its first major The Sims 4 expansion pack, Get To Work. Apart from sticking a photon torpedo up the exhaust port of careers in The Sims 4 generally, the big pull here is that it adds careers which you can actually play, as opposed to simply wondering about or dealing with the occasional moral dilemma via a text pop-up, a la The Sims 3. Check out the new stuff in the video below, then start planning how to Sim-Facebook behind your Sim-boss’s Sim back.

Thursday continued the trend of new things being added to new (and old) games, first with the news from those Klingon bastards you killed my son Ubisoft, about the March 10th release of their new Far Cry 4 — DLC? Mini expansion? I’m going with DLC, as that seems most Ubi-like — new Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of The Yeti. Without reading too much into it, I’m guessing that valleys and Yetis will both be featuring in this one, although probably not any Gorn, because a) that would be too cool, and b) I don’t know if Ajay could improvise a cannon from geological odds and ends the way Kirk did. Still, you can try the new single-player and co-op Yeti DLC when it comes out, either as part of your Season Pass or as part of deleting some of the content of your credit card. Set phasers to Purchase.

The “old” game I mentioned above is really not that old, perhaps. It’s none other than Guild Wars 2, which came out about 2-and-a-half years ago, so make of that what you will. The news there is that finally, finally, they will be implementing a proper first-person view, reachable by simply scrolling all the way in. An accompanying FOV slider will also be joining this long-wished for feature, as well as various other camera-type bits and pieces. Set a course for the official website to read all the juicy details. Ahead warp factor one.

yetis 2

Whilst terrible for Vulcans, Friday was infinitely better for big Kickstarter projects. MMORPG fantasy “Throne war simulator” (coughcough) Crowfall nailed its USD 800,000 target within three days. Headed up by two MMO veterans, Gordon Walton (Ultima Online, Star Wars: Galaxies, SW:TOR), and J. Todd Coleman (Shadowbane, Wizard 101, Pirate 101), Crowfall strikes an interesting balance between persistent MMO-style characters and limited-time worlds which, excitingly, are voxel-based and fully deformable by the epic lolz we’ll all be having in them. Also (finally) reaching (and then surpassing) its Kickstarter goal of USD 600,000 was (UltimaUnderworld Ascendant. Third in the phaser over-loadingly classic Ultima Underworld series, this new instalment is being lovingly bought to life by the original team too, and promises all sorts of updated-nostalgia excitement for us old-timers, as well as superb dungeoneering thrills for the Grimrock generation.


My own weekend was mainly reserved for drunken Star Trek blu-ray watching, in honour of our fallen colleague, although the Wasteland 2 people did mention something about a shift from Unity 4.5 to Unity 5, with a concomitant graphical upgrade for said game. Someone from the Battlefield: Hardline department mumbled something about how stable and glitch-free DICE’s new cops ‘n robbers game was sure to be come launch day (snort), and there was some kind of small, sad whisper about another beloved classic, NOLF, not getting its promised polishing and re-release. Oh well. All I can think of now is how the world is a slightly sadder, less logical place without that green-blooded son of a bitch. Until next week, Live long and prosper.

spock saluteLeonard Simon Nimoy, March 26 1931 — February 27th 2015

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About The Author

Old London geezer, now resident in the Polish hinterland. Linguist, committed Trekker, old-skool D&Der and gamer since the Colecovision was cooler than yo-yos...

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