Category Archives: Gaming

Pokémon GO Eggstravaganza Returns!

The Pokémon GO Eggstravaganza has returned! It begins on March 22, at 1:00 p.m. PDT, and will end on April 2. If you missed out on last year’s Eggstravaganza event, now is your chance to participate.

This year, an even greater variety of Pokémon will be found in 2 km Eggs, and only those Eggs will be available from PokéStops throughout the event! This means that Pokémon that normally hatch from 5 km or 10 km Eggs, such as Wynaut or Raults, will be found in 2 km Eggs until the event ends on April 2 at 1:00 p.m. PDT. There will also be an increased hatch rate of certain Pokémon, such as Pichu and Togepi.

Players who participate in the Eggstravaganza will receive bonus Candy for every Egg hatched during the event. Double Stardust will also be available throughout the event. The Pokémon GO in-game shop has special boxes which include Super Incubators and Star Pieces.

The emphasis in this year’s event is the same as last year. The overall goal is to hatch as many Eggs as possible before the event ends. The difference is that last year’s event offered players double XP (experience points), but this year’s Eggstravaganza doesn’t.

Amazon GameOn Enables Cross-Platform Competitive Game Play

Amazon has launched Amazon GameOn. It is a set of flexible APIs built on AWS cloud infrastructure that works on any operating system. It was created to be an easy tool for game developers to use to drive engagement between their games and the people who play them.

GameOn is a set of flexible APIs built on AWS cloud infrastructure and works on any operating system, giving you the ability to scale quickly, while allowing you to invest more time in what you do best – designing great games. With GameOn you have an easy tool to bring more players in on the action – allowing them to compete for real world prizes fulfilled by Amazon or other in-game rewards. Drive engagement and increase monetization of your games by adding leaderboards, leagues, and multi-round competitions to your games, or strengthen your fanbase by allowing players and streamers to create their own user-generated competitions.

Features include:

  • Real-world and in-game prizes: Reward your players with in-game and real-world prizes fulfilled by Amazon.
  • Flexible competition creation: Create new or recurring leaderboards, leagues, and multi-round tournaments.
  • User-generated competitions: Allow players to create and manage their own leaderboards and competitions
  • Easy management with the GameOn console: Manage competitions with ease and access reporting on player behavior.
  • Keep competition fun and fair: Define entry requirements such as geographic location, device type, player skill level, and more.
  • Engage fans at events: Create competitions at events like gaming conventions, music festivals and meetups.

To celebrate the launch of Amazon GameOn, Amazon is offering free use of the GameOn APIs until May 1, 2018, to all developers.

Epic Games Released $12 Million of Paragon Content for Free

Epic Games has released $12,000,000 worth of content from Paragon, Epic’s high-end action MOBA, for free to all Unreal Engine 4 developers. These assets, built at a cost of over $12,000,000, encompass 20 triple-A characters and over 1,500 environment components from Paragon.

The content is now available free of charge in the Unreal Engine Marketplace, where developers may download Paragon packs to use in their UE4 projects. It includes 20 AAA quality characters, with their respective skins, animations, VFX and dialogue, along with over 1,500 environments from Paragon.

Available Paragon assets include:

Characters: 20 Paragon Hero characters will initially be available including all skins for distinct character variants. The release also includes base meshes, thousands of textures, VFX and animation cycles, and dialogue with hundreds of sound cues. The character Shinbi comes with an animation Blueprint which can be tailored to specific needs.

Environments: The Paragon release includes over 15,000 environment assets created for the Agora and Monolith maps, including a sample map for developers to use and customize as desired.

More to Come: Epic will release millions of dollars worth of additional Paragon asset packs beyond the $12 million offering through spring and summer of 2018.

RIFT’s Carnival of the Ascended has Begun!

RIFT turns 7 this year. Players can celebrate with the Carnival of the Ascended which began on March 15, 2018, and will run through April 5, 2018.

Seven years has flown by in the blink of an eye – let’s mark the occasion with all of our traditional Carnival events in Tempest Bay. We welcome all Live server players to grab a piece of 7 Year birthday cake and join the celebrations! Wait up, say Prime server players … Tempest Bay? We haven’t found Tempest Bay Yet! Ahh, very true, though you’ve clearly heard rumors of the fun going on there, like echos from a past life. Likewise, a traveling merchant has heard of this new, far off land called Vigil and is even now packing up his mule train to bring you a taste of Carnival! Look for Winachuck Maguck in Sanctum and Meridian. Yes, he has mastered the arcane art of being in two places at once!

New Carnival items available for event currency include:

  • A carousel-style Pegasus companion pet named Celeste
  • Newly designed carnival-style masks
  • Players who are “feeling bubbly” can apply the new Celebratory or Prismatic weapon rune
  • Players who want to throw around some virtual coin can use the Golden or Silver rune of Wealth
  • The Primal Rebirthday Cake has unlimited shelf life
  • Earn a new Raid Tier 2 Earring for level 70’s (RIFT live, only)
  • New 7th Anniversary Cape

Available on the RIFT store for credits:

  • New Wings of the Archfey – “make your own Carnival parade while wearing these beauties”
  • New Mount – Greeñata – a unique floating mount form

Brutality is a Medieval Combat Brawler Board Game

Brutality is a PVP (player vs player) medieval combat brawler board game. It is designed for 2 to 4 players. The Brutality Kickstarter has 19 days to go (at the time I am writing this post). Its goal was $42,000, and it currently has $69,969. It was funded in 29 hours.

Brutality comes with 8 figures, 8 Hero Cards, 56 Relic Cards, 10 Artifact Cards, more than 60 Hazard Tiles, and a Game Board. It appears that some of the Kickstarter stretch goals have been reached, and this could result in additional Heroes being added to the game box.

To win, your team must destroy the other team using brutal attacks, relics, artifacts, and environmental hazards. Each team selects 2 Heroes, each with their own special attacks and moves.

Relic cards change up the game in ways that can be beneficial for you, or harmful to your enemies. Artifact cards have powerful effects with cooldowns. The Environmental Hazards can be used like traps or weapons against the other team’s Heroes.

Twitch Updated Their Community Guidelines

Twitch updated its Community Guidelines and those changes went into effect on March 5, 2018. Twitch put together an FAQ update that provides some additional explanation about the Community Guidelines changes.

Twitch defines hateful conduct as: any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics, and is strictly prohibited:

  • Race, ethnicity, or national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex, Gender, or Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Disability or Medical Condition
  • Physical Characteristics
  • Veteran Status

Streamers need to be aware of that definition because Twitch is going to hold streamers accountable for the content of their stream.

As a streamer, you are responsible for the content on your stream. Twitch asks you to make a good faith effort to moderate interactive elements of your stream, such as setting a word filter or a notification delay to give yourself a chance to moderate incoming notifications.

Twitch suggests that streamers enable AutoMod (which can be found in your settings), build a moderation team, or utilize the third party tools to moderate their stream. Twitch also suggests streamers temporarily disable or mute any unmoderated interactive elements such as text-to-speech when the streamer steps away from their computer.

Twitch is also moderating off-Twitch conduct. To clarify, Twitch says it is not going to actively monitor other websites or services for violations of the Twitch Community Guidelines. However, they recognize that “harassment against Twitch community members can sometimes originate from off-Twitch conduct”.

As such, Twitch will allow people to report harassment and submit links to evidence with their report. Twitch’s moderation team will only take action if: the links provided are verifiable, the content can be directly tied to the reported Twitch user, the target of harassment is another Twitch users, group of Twitch users, or Twitch employees, or the moderation team determines the conduct violates Twitch’s policies.

Reuters Launched Reuters Esports Wire

Reuters announced the launch of a new wire service devoted to coverage of esports. It is available now to Reuters News Agency customers. To me, this suggests that esports has become mainstream enough for large news providers to dedicate time to covering it.

The Reuters Esports Wire is designed for easy use across print, digital and social media, and provides unique, in-depth coverage targeted towards a younger demographic. Coverage of esports will be delivered with the same detail and analysis as any major sports league, with content provided through a partnership with sports text provider Field Level Media.

The Reuters Esports Wire features global coverage of the competitive gaming industry, including breaking news, player acquisitions, sponsorship deals and coverage of the largest esports tournaments.

Some of the esports tournaments and leagues that Reuters Esports Wire will cover include: Overwatch, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2, NBA2K and select others. It is possible for publishers to request a free, no-obligation trial of Reuters Esports Wire now.

Josh Duboff, Reuters Senior Product Manager, Sports & Entertainment Verticals, said: “Esports has grown increasingly popular around the world and demand for coverage of the sport has never been stronger. This offers us a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of offering coverage of the sport to global media customers as they see a rising interest in the competitive gaming industry from their audiences.”

Here’s What Happened to the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter

Palladium Books held a Kickstarter to produce Robotech RPG Tactics. A total of 5,342 backers pledged $1,442,312 to bring the project to life. Robotech RPG Tactics is a tabletop strategy game that expands on the popular Palladium role playing game. Palladium was intending to create miniatures as game pieces. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned.

President of Palladium Books, Kevin Siembieda, posted an update on the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter on February 27, 2018. In it, he announced that they will be unable to produce some of the rewards that were offered in the Kickstarter, and explained why.

So it is with sadness and tremendous heartbreak that I announce that, despite our best efforts, we are unable to produce the Robotech RPG Tactics Wave Two rewards. Moreover, after proudly carrying the legacy of Robotech in the role-playing games medium for 30 years, our license has expired and is not being renewed.

To get the full story of what happened, I recommend you read the Kickstarter update. In short, Palladium Books decided to contract with Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures. In addition to running the Kickstarter, NinjaDivision/Soda Pop Miniatures would also select the manufacturer/broker in China, choose the manufacturing process, choose the type of plastic, create the game, and hire talented sculptors and artists.

Palladium developed the game rules and provided Ninja Division’s sculptors and artists with reference materials to help them design the miniatures just right. A big problem occurred when Palladium learned that the 3D sculpts from the sculptors were not compatible with the tooling process the manufacturer would be using. From there, things spiraled and the costs to produce everything Palladium intended to became too high.

Kevin Siembieda posted that they cannot produce the Wave Two rewards. He has offered Wave One rewards in exchange for the unrealized Wave Two rewards – and points out that people will have to pay for shipping. There have been a few more updates since the original announcement, and those who spent money on the Kickstarter might want to take a look at those.

Gigantic will Close in July

Perfect World Entertainment and Mortiga announced that Gigantic will be closing down on July 31, 2018. The game was first released on July 20, 2017. In the meantime, players will be able to access all Heroes for free.

The announcement was posted on the Gigantic website in January. Those who are still playing the game can access all of the Heroes for free, including the Heroes that were newly released. The purchasing of Rubies and Hero Packs has been disabled. Currency will still be rewarded in-game, and any Crowns or Rubies gained by an account will remain available to purchase Shop items at discounted prices.

From the announcement:

Discontinuing Gigantic was not an easy decision. The game is a unique and exciting experience that captured many hearts and minds. Unfortunately, it did not resonate with as many players as we’d hoped. Over the last several months, the teams at Motiga and Perfect World looked into viable options to sustain Gigantic. However, the current state of the game has restricted options for further progress and relevant content updates, and delivering basic features while also fixing long-standing issues was more complicated than expected. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to find an impactful solution that would help Gigantic break through in a crowded market.

Gigantic is a 6×6 Strategic Hero Shooter with MOBA elements where players battle against and alongside massive Guardians, in deeply strategic team gameplay. It has a total of 27 Heroes to choose from. Gigantic is free to play. In an FAQ it states that Gigantic makes money by allowing players to permanently unlock Heroes and skins using a paid currency called Rubies.

Feel the Heat with Vortx from Whirlwind FX at CES 2018

The gaming experience has steadily improved since Pong. Each generation of console and processor brings more detailed graphics, faster framerates, improved sound, force feedback vibration, VR, AR…. They’re all designed to make games more immersive and realistic without actually injuring the player. The latest addition to the gaming word is Vortx from Whirlwind FX: Todd takes the heat with Timothy, Founder and CEO.

The Vortx brings greater realism to the player by blowing hot and cold air in reponse to on-screen action. Imagine a demon throwing fireballs. As the player dodges a fireball, the Vortx blasts hot breath at the player as the ball slips past. Or imagine an adventure game, climbing through frozen mountains. The Vortx chills the air as the player climbs higher. It’s impressive.

About the size of a desktop speaker (9″ tall), the Vortx connects to a PC via USB and works with the Whirlwind FX engine. It uses object recognition and analysis to automatically trigger heat or cold, so Vortx can be used with any PC game without modification.

The Vortx is available for pre-order now at US$119, with shipping expected soon.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at

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