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Streets of Rogue is going to eat your lunch break today

Posted on 9th Sep 2016 at 11:14 by Jake Tucker with 4 comments

Jake Tucker
Streets of Rogue is, at first glance, everything I hate. It's an open alpha of a rogue-lite with a pun name for a title, and it takes inspiration from a mass of different sources. A single paragraph on the website suggests the game takes inspiration from Binding of Isaac, Nuclear Throne and Deus Ex.

But, this first alpha is open for everyone to play, so I thought why not, if it sucks I can just get back to playing Rainbow Six Siege forever.

It doesn't suck. In fact, Streets of Rogue is fun in a way I haven't seen in games in a long time.

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Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

Posted on 2nd Sep 2016 at 09:18 by Rick Lane with 59 comments

Rick Lane
Allegations of corruption have dogged games journalism for almost as long as games journalism has existed. Where exactly this belief stems from isn’t entirely certain. But if you went by the average comments section on a game review, you’d think the entirety of games journalism was more corrupt than Silvio Berlusconi’s hard-drive.

Like any form of journalism, games media isn’t short of examples of shoddy work. Evidence of that goes as far back as dodgy reviews of games like Nemesis for the ZX Spectrum, where Sinclair User appear to have reviewed a beta version of the game in order to get ahead of the competition. But the vast majority of complaints and conspiracy theories about games writing aren’t concerned with laziness or cutting corners. Instead, they revolve around a very specific and far more serious subject – the idea that critics are routinely paid-off by publishers to artificially inflate review scores.

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We should be applauding No Man's Sky for letting us believe

Posted on 10th Aug 2016 at 10:40 by Jake Tucker with 23 comments

Jake Tucker
Don't worry, we're still planning on reviewing No Man's Sky; Rick's in deep space as we speak.

I didn't like No Man's Sky when I played it, back in the spring. The hype-train had already left the station, and now, on the day of its PS4 release, and just a couple of days before PC owners get to carve out their own chunk of the universe, that trainload of hype is at maximum speed.

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It's time Valve owns up to its part in skin gambling

Posted on 8th Jul 2016 at 16:03 by Jake Tucker with 14 comments

Jake Tucker
This week has been a big one for YouTuber drama, with news breaking that two prominent streamers had been unmasked as the owners of a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive betting site called CSGO Lotto.

I won't try to explain it all, but professional streamers Trevor 'TMarTn' Martin and Tom 'ProSyndicate' Cassell created the site and then pretended to have just discovered it in order to showcase it to their viewers and generate interest. This video below from H3H3 productions, highlights exactly what the pair have been up to, and it's pretty much the shadiest thing I've seen in games for a while. But what people haven't got around to yet is that this boom in shady videogame gambling practices is largely Valve's fault.

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Dear publishers, please just let me buy your game

Posted on 19th May 2015 at 09:26 by Rick Lane with 42 comments

Rick Lane
Imagine sitting down in a restaurant and ordering a meal; let's say, Surf and Turf with chips and a side-salad. The waiter informs you that the arrival time of your meal will be announced in ten minutes. The time passes, and the waiter rolls up and apologises, saying your meal has been delayed. But good news! They're ready to announce that the prawns for your surf and turf can now be ordered early for an extra £5.

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Who benefits from the idea of gamers?

Posted on 5th Sep 2014 at 10:39 by Rick Lane with 24 comments

Rick Lane
The last few weeks have been a dismal time for many people involved in the games industry. A combination of vicious personal attacks on important female figures in the industry, torrents of accusations regarding journalistic ethics and rampant paranoia over the perceived destruction of gaming itself has all bundled together in one great snowball of malevolence, misinformation and outright misery. I'm not going into the nitty-gritty of recent occurrences in this article, but these pieces here and here here give a pretty good summary of events.

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What the hell is videogame AI anyway?

Posted on 16th Jul 2014 at 09:05 by Rick Lane with 10 comments

Rick Lane
Dearest readers of bit-tech! Come hither and listen to my whispered words, as I am a troubled soul. For a long time now I have lamented the lack of progress made in the AI sphere of game development. In the years surrounding the millennium AI was bold and bright and exciting. Games like Unreal Tournament, Thief, Black and White and Halo were doing clever and innovative things with artificial intelligence, providing enemies that could use teamwork to outmanoeuvre us, guards that would hunt us, and a big daft monkey that could learn from us.

This continued until around 2005, with FEAR being the last game I can recall with truly memorable AI. Then something changed, and after that nothing changed. Stealth AI has patrolled the same pathways for years, shooter AI crouched behind a wall circa 2006 and decided to make a home there, and when was the last time you played a game that involved the AI learning anything?

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There's more to graphics tech than resolutions and framerates

Posted on 6th Jun 2014 at 10:10 by Rick Lane with 38 comments

Rick Lane
Last year I interviewed Ken Silverman, creator of the Build engine (used in games like Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior) as part of a monthly article series I write in Custom PC about graphics engines. While preparing for the interview, I read through his timeline for the engine's development, which is published on his website. Amid all the technical jargon and details of publisher deals was the simple line "Finally added SLOPES!"

It stood out because whereas so much of the information was factual and to the point, this entry conveyed more emotion; a strong sense of both relief and achievement. I asked him what the big deal was, and he responded thus:

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Should we be concerned about the state of Steam?

Posted on 9th May 2014 at 08:58 by Rick Lane with 27 comments

Rick Lane
Earlier this week the post-apocalypse FPS Earth: Year 2066 was withdrawn from sale on Steam. The game had come under fire from fans and journalists alike on account of being severely underdeveloped even for an Early Access title, and misleading players about its rudimentary and broken state on the product page. This came to a head on the sixth of May when Valve dubbed the game a scam and removed all mention of it from the service.

Earth: Year 2066 isn't the only steaming plate of rubbish served to players through Steam lately. This has been highlighted by Escapist Reviews Editor Jim Sterling, who has spent the past few months slowly shovelling his way through the mounting pile of excrement which alongside 2066 include the likes of Overcast: Walden and the Werewolf, the multiplayer FPS Rekoil, and Day One: Garry's Incident. All as part of an effort to demonstrate that Steam needs better quality control.

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Far Cry 3 and the inventory problem

Posted on 26th Feb 2013 at 14:21 by David Hing with 43 comments

David Hing
Dear Far Cry 3,

I wanted to thank you for inviting me to spend time on your beautiful tropical island paradise filled with red-shirt pirates, ninja tigers and quick-to-anger murderous bovines. Exploring your beaches, cliff tops and jungles has been a truly amazing experience and despite what I'm going to say, I must stress I am grateful for that and honestly believe you have something truly wonderful going on for you.

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Dishonored 2 Hands-On Preview

Dishonored 2 Hands-On Preview

Arkane's newest immerse sim looks like the bee's knees.
ECS H110S-2P Review

ECS H110S-2P Review

We take a look at one of the new teeny tiny mini-STX boards to hit the...

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