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Tue 16 July 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 16 July 2024, 14:45:36

Tags: Baldur's Gate 3; Larian Studios

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Ah, the summer. Outside the temperature is rising, the chemical aroma of sunscreen is inescapable, and your dad is on his third day wearing the same sweat-stained tank top. What better time than now to retreat indoors and catch up on the latest updates arriving in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Coming to you this September, Patch 7 rolls out the perfect escape with split screen updates, brand new cinematics for evil endings, plenty of bug fixes, plus our official modding toolkit which we talked more about in our last Community Update!

Let’s take a look! And as always, beware - spoilers lay ahead.

Honour Mode Improvements
We’re continuing to make improvements to combat in Honour Mode too. With Patch 7, even more creatures have been bestowed additional Legendary Actions, including the bulette, everyone’s favourite neighbourhood surgeon, Malus Thorm, and githyanki Ch'r'ai Tska'an, Ch'r'ai Har'rak, and Ptaris.

Dror Ragzlin will now also be able to use a new spell called Arachnid Compulsion to rally the spiders that reside in the nearby pit to fight the real enemy - you.

Evil Endings
And, of course, Patch 7 will also be bringing several new cinematics that offer your more evil playthroughs a grander finale!

From avatar Origin characters, including the Dark Urge, to the multiple different pathways that you can take as your own player character, each new cinematic is yours to discover through nefarious means.

Closed Beta - July 22nd
Are you interested in playtesting Patch 7? With all these bug fixes, updates to gameplay, and new features, we want to make sure we haven’t broken anything or introduced something that will make your computer explode. (We’re kidding, our legal representatives ensure.)

We mentioned in Community Update #26 that we were introducing additional internal playtesting, but we’d also like to test Patch 7 at scale, with a variety of different systems and savegames - this is where we would like your help!

Registration Now Open
Head to the Baldur’s Gate 3 store page here on Steam and register now for your chance to take part in the Patch 7 Closed Beta which will go live next week on July 22nd!

Entry to the playtest will be given to randomly selected registered players, and if you’re selected, we’ll let you know more about what to look out for, including partial patch notes, and how you can report any issues you might come across!

It Ain’t Goodbye Just Yet!
It’s hard to believe it’s almost been an entire year since we launched Baldur’s Gate 3. But the journey isn’t over yet.

Patch 7 won’t be the final update for Baldur’s Gate 3. We still have a few things up our sleeve - including many community-requested features like crossplay and a photo mode to capture and share your unforgettable moments. And we’re working on a host of other enhancements, from gameplay tweaks and quality-of-life improvements to bug fixes and performance optimizations.

We’ll keep you looped in on when those are likely to hit a little further down the line. In the meantime, stay in touch with us on our socials, stay tuned, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.​

There are 17 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Community Update #28: Patch 7 Closed Beta

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Thu 11 July 2024

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 11 July 2024, 19:45:04

Tags: Greedfall II: The Dying World; Nacon; Spiders


Dear Carants,

Before the summer break, we have some great news to share with you! You have been eagerly waiting for it, and it is now time to reveal it.

GreedFall 2: The Dying World’s early access will release on September 24!

Until the early access releases, there are many exciting things you can look forward to. You can expect to learn more about the game in August when we will present a new Gameplay video. Then, in September, before the start of the early access, we plan to host another Community Livestream where we will reveal new exciting information along with the updated Road Map and answer your questions.

To celebrate all of this, we are organizing an event on our Discord server, and until the official release we may have other surprises in store. So come join us!

Cheers and happy gaming!​

There are 30 comments on Greedfall II: The Dying World coming to Early Access on September 24th

Mon 8 July 2024

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 8 July 2024, 20:43:15

Tags: Piranha Bytes; Pithead Studio


CD-Action source (a Piranha Bytes employee, with whom we had been in contact since the first information about the studio's crisis situation) informed us, that the company responsible for the creation of Gothic ceased operations at the end of June.

The crisis had been going on for a long time, but from time to time investors appeared on the horizon interested in helping the studio continue its operations. According to the information provided to us, the project was expected to be financed in the amount of 3 million euros. After all, Piranha Bytes remained one of the most popular game developers in Germany. Unfortunately, in the end, Piranha was not bought out, and the financing from Embracer let them operate only until June 2024. In the meantime, many employees had left to the company, opting for more secure employment. A few days before the material was published, the company's office looked like this:

Our source told us, that - after the possible buyout - Piranha Bytes planned to set a new direction, in contrast to the last games created under the command of Bjorn Pankratz (who, together with his wife, left Piranha Bytes in November last year and today announced the founding of the Pithead studio), i.e. the Elex series, and to create a new dark fantasy game on Unreal Engine 5. The new game was supposed to resemble Gothic, to which Piranha Bytes did not have the rights. In December, the lighting and animations were further refined, which, according to the informant, had previously been the cause of considerable criticism from players.

The last CEO of Piranha Bytes was Michael Rueve. At this point, he has not commented on the fate of the company, but according to our information, the studio will most likely not make any official statements, allowing itself to leave peacefully and quietly.​

There are 34 comments on Piranha Bytes has shut down, Bjorn and Jenny Pankratz found new company Pithead Studio

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Wed 26 June 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 June 2024, 22:12:59

Tags: Owlcat Games; Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader; Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader - Void Shadows


Abelard, introduce the second gargantuan update 1.2 to the players!

It is the biggest update of the game so far, containing over 2500 changes, about 30% larger than 1.1. We’ve left out some internal and minor changes and combined some others together to keep the size of these patch notes reasonable.

Here’s a glimpse of what to expect:
  • Major balance updates - deep rebalance of out-of-sequence turns, buffs to Sanctioned Psykers and Pyromancy, tuning of scaling in the late game, and much more;
  • QoL changes to the UI - improved inventory sorting, quests being marked on star systems, massive improvements to level up screen, better tooltips, improvements to the combat log, and more;
  • Various improvements for locations across the game - pathing, visual effects, cover placement, backgrounds, improved NPC appearance and variety;
  • New dialogues for secret companions, fixes and updates for existing dialogues, fixes for epilogue slides;
  • Improved rumour system with rumour zones now highlighted on the map;
  • Updates for some cutscenes - better animations, timing, cameras;
  • Improvements to co-op: desync fixes, custom portrait transfer, save file size reduction, up to two additional custom mercenary characters available in Prologue - play together from the start!
  • Many new animations;
  • New visual effects (for abilities, auras, creature animations, and more);
  • New sound effects and corrections to VO;
  • New item icons;
  • A few new talents;
  • Localization improvements and countless typo fixes for all languages;
  • Massive amount of bug fixes for all aspects of the game;
  • And much more!
Due to the massive changes to the mechanics, all members of the current party in existing saves will receive a special ability, allowing them to perform a one-time free respecialization. The ability will be removed as soon as the party gains access to the usual means of respecialization;

Please be aware of the plot spoilers below!

Note that https://steamcommunity.com/app/2186680/discussions/0/4027970580228219058/ always contains up-to-date information on known issues and the roadmap of upcoming patches.​

There are 21 comments on Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader 1.2 Update and Void Shadows DLC Companion Introduction

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 June 2024, 22:03:53

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2


As summer approaches we wanted to fill you in on a few processes and reflections our team is grappling with. So much going on right now!

“For my Quests, I like to lean into the protagonist's nature as an outsider in a foreign land. Seattle may at first seem inconsequential to an Elder Vampire but, powerful as you are, you're still at the bottom of the ladder. Phyre must quickly react to a Kindred power structure in chaos and the early missions in the city reflect this.

Rejection by those in power would mean certain befalling, and so Phyre must prove their worthiness to Seattle's elite. Many of my quests follow this thread of pressure being applied to our protagonist. For players to run the gauntlet through Seattle, deciding which relationships to nurture and which to break.

Seattle is frozen in time under a blanket of snow, waiting for a new leader to emerge. Phyre is weakened and in need of both allies and answers. The weakest soldiers on the street, the Courts, and even the Cops will present challenges for players to navigate, or maybe just straight-up punch in the mouth. Our more open areas present players with more of a choice in their approach to combat and we've taken great care in crafting slick traversal options that reinforce that. Can't wait to show you more!"

- The Chinese Room’s Junior Level Designer Jack Goddard

“In the last Dev Diary, I mentioned how we build our levels to support the game’s awesome traversal system. This time, I’d like to dive deeper into this and some other key considerations when designing levels for Bloodlines 2.

Traversal Mechanics
Let's start with traversal. When designing our spaces, we consider numerous factors to allow you to make the most of your Kindred abilities. Many of our environments would have been built for humans in Seattle, but you are a powerful Vampire, and our spaces need to support this. We have created multiple paths, some that are accessible by humans and some of which are only accessible through using your unique movements, enhancing both gameplay variety and immersion. However, using these vampiric abilities can risk breaking the Masquerade, so these paths are designed to be used discreetly, ensuring you remain hidden from prying human eyes.

Space Purpose
The purpose of each space greatly influences its design. Are you likely to be fighting enemies here? If so, the area will look and feel vastly different from one meant for exploration or storytelling. Combat zones are crafted to support various playstyles, from stealth to brawling, and we sometimes design areas to encourage a particular approach to keep gameplay dynamic.

Narrative and Exploration
For spaces focused on story and exploration, our approach shifts. Here, the goal is to provide opportunities for discovery and to guide you towards interesting moments organically. These environments are meant to contrast with combat-heavy areas, offering a slower pace. These spaces invite you to linger and delve deeper into the lore of our world.

Balancing the Experience
Finally, while each space is carefully crafted to fulfill its specific role, we also ensure a balanced mix throughout the game. The interplay between fast-paced action areas and more serene, narrative-rich environments keeps the gameplay experience fresh and engaging.

In summary, our level design philosophy revolves around maximizing the potential of your Vampire abilities, tailoring spaces to their intended purpose, and maintaining a balanced and engaging pace throughout the game. We can’t wait for you to experience the world we’ve built in Bloodlines 2.”

- The Chinese Room’s Level Designer Amy Lee​

There are 31 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #14: What are we up to? Part 2

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Tue 18 June 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 18 June 2024, 14:37:11

Tags: Cyclopean (Schmidt Workshops); Schmidt Workshops


Trapped in the Vaults of Zinn!
You are Randolph Carter, old dreamer and friend of cats. The spiteful and mischievous zoogs, after making an unholy alliance with the ghasts, have imprisoned you and several cats in the haunted, cyclopean Vaults of Zinn. You must find the exit of the vaults and rescue as many cats as you can, or die trying.

Rogue-Like Dungeon Crawler
The game is a grid based dungeon crawler, with a procedurally generated dungeon and rogue-like gameplay. Each play-through is unique, with perma-death, and a summary of your play-through will be presented at the end. The game currently stores your top 10 play-throughs for review.

Turn Based Combat
The gameplay and combat is all turn based, allowing you to make strategic decisions.

The current build of the game has a simple upgrade system. You can gain levels by fighting monsters and thereby gain "life" and "skill". Life is just health (but it fits into the UI better) and skill effects your ability to hit enemies.

You can also find swords which increase your damage and shields which increase your defense. This feature was very much a product of the limited time of the game jam, and I will be thinking about ways to enhance it.

New Features
I am considering some new features to add to the full release. Among them are a larger dungeon, more monsters, better upgrading system and having the cats join your party in some way. I do hope to do this without diminishing the simplicity and ease of access that the current version has.​

There are 66 comments on Cyclopean is an upcoming Lovecraftian dungeon crawler from the creator of Islands of the Caliph

Thu 13 June 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 June 2024, 18:25:08

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous - A Dance of Masks


Greetings, Pathfinders! We're excited to share the news that the final DLC in Season Pass 2, A Dance of Masks, is finally out! Head to the rebuilt after fire Kenabres to spend time with your team at the festival! Enjoy the festivities and unravel the plot of the mysterious guest who has arrived just in time for your arrival. Complete your team and evaluate your skills in the arena. Celebrate your victories in the tavern, but don't forget to save your energy for a romantic date with your significant other. It's time for a well-deserved rest and new achievements!

To get an invitation to the festival, you'll need a save from chapter 5: wait for Arsinoe to arrive at the Drezen Citadel after the coronation and be ready to head to Kenabres. Or start a new playthrough as one of the new 11 archetypes, enjoying new features and gameplay styles!

We hope you have fun playing A Dance of Masks DLC, and the full dialogue voiceover will help you enjoy the experience even more!​


There are 22 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous - A Dance of Masks DLC Released

Wed 12 June 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 12 June 2024, 22:00:00

Tags: Lost Pilgrims Studio; Vagrus - The Riven Realms; Vagrus - The Riven Reams: Old Acquaintances


Hey everyone,

The time has come to release our next DLC, Old Acquaintances, which adds Javek and Sedarias to the main game, two Companions we’ve met in the prologue scenario previously. Both of them changed drastically in the time that passed since we first saw them and both offer extensive questlines to tell their stories, replete with new NPCs, enemies, allies, lore, and rewards.

The DLC also contains the Freelancers’ Guild, a specialized mercenary organization that allows you to recruit new hirelings (from a selection of four) to round out your crew. They can be found in the four major cities of the North and the Onyx Outpost.

Alongside the new content, the accompanying Patch (detailed below) contains a number of improvements and fixes to improve the general experience of

Important Note: Considering the extent of the improvements, there is little to no chance that we broke nothing in the process. Assume that we did not want to make anyone's life harder. If you see something amiss, please flag it to us using the usual channels, like the inbuilt reporting tool (F1 button), forums, and our Discord server.

Patch 1.170 - Codename: Old Acquaintances

New Content
  • The DLC ‘Old Acquaintances’ will now be unlocked to all its owners. It includes two Companions for the main campaign – Javek and Sedarias – with fully-fledged storylines including new enemies and rewards, their own Skills, Prowess progression, as well as four new Hirelings available at the Freelancers’ Guild in Tor’Zag’s Shelter, Deven, Avernum, Larnak, and (for owners of ‘Sunfire and Moonshadow’) the Onyx Outpost.
Stay tuned and conquer the wasteland!
- The Lost Pilgrims Team​


There are 2 comments on Vagrus - The Riven Realms: Old Acquaintances DLC Released

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 12 June 2024, 20:55:26

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2


Summer’s here so we figured it’d be a good time to pull back the curtain a bit and show you how a game like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is made. This month we’ll give you a couple of glimpses into how the magic becomes a game. In this post we’re focusing on the atmosphere of the game: Concept Art, Level Design, Lighting and Audio.

Level Design
As a Level Designer, I love working on spaces that evoke a range of powerful emotional experiences for the player. I've been exploring how we can best achieve this, while collaborating with our other departments. I am very excited to see your reactions!

Recently I’ve been working on an early level in the game, where I focussed on how we can encourage player learning, and how we can help you to feel confident when playing our game. We also want to build levels that support a variety of playstyles, to make sure that you can play as your chosen Clan.

As a Vampire, we want you to be able to embrace your supernatural movement options. Our levels have been carefully crafted in a way that will allow you to experiment and have fun with our traversal system, and in some places, be challenged.I can’t wait for you all to play!”

- Level Designer Amy Lee

In Bloodlines 2 my main focus is to guide you through the cold and looming backdrop that our Design and Environment Art teams have meticulously crafted over the past few years. These quests, set in our nocturnal version of Seattle, allow you to delve into the lives of its many Kindred inhabitants.

Taking place after pivotal moments in the main questline, these adventures will offer you the chance to explore Seattle at your own pace. You will be visiting its Clan leaders, keeping the competition at bay and making decisions that will affect the outcome of your journey as Phyre. These are stuffed with Narrative and lore and I'll be taking you from the depths of the underground to the snow-capped high-rise rooftops.

Having so many great moments of Bloodlines 2's story under my care has always felt like a big responsibility. I am happy to report however, that working with the Narrative team has been wonderful, and bouncing ideas off of them has been some of the most fun I've had here at TCR. I look forward to heading into the night with all of you all, but for now I have more public spaces to deface.”

- Junior Level Designer Jack Goddard

It is simply a tad too early to reveal what I’m working on right this minute, but I figured perhaps you’d enjoy hearing about how we as Writers create Ambience in games. Something perhaps players don’t think of much (means we did our job right!), but that is still a big part of the overall experience. “Ambients” are the sounds you hear in the game outside of roleplay conversations; this can range from short lines you might hear from a passing NPC to situation-specific enemy dialogue. They're a vital part of developing the game's soundscape to help it feel like a fully fleshed-out world.

It's a process that involves close communication between Level Design and Narrative Design. Getting the ambients right requires understanding every fight, every location, every NPC, and writing unique dialogue to fit. How many enemies are there in this fight? Do they all appear at once or do they come in waves? Why is that NPC here? If you lurk before approaching, can you learn their motivation? Does eavesdropping on them give you a hint for where to go next? What can you learn about the wider world by listening to them?

Ambients are a perfect opportunity for world building, we give each NPC their own personality and a brief look into their life, no matter how minor a part they play. So while it's fun for the player to get a glimpse into their world, ambients really reinforce just that: this is their world. So Phyre (and by extension, the player) is just a small part of it.

Our team mould these around the traversal of the world while accounting for various playstyles; a player who favours stealth might overhear an entire enemy conversation, while a player who prefers to brawl might jump right into the fray and cut off all but the first line. We then move on to implementing every piece just so, to ensure it triggers at exactly the right moment, giving the player an immersive experience that feels alive and natural. Thanks a lot for reading about this part of game development!”

- Games Writer Cherish Goldstraw

See you in two weeks for another sneak peek like this, before we break for summer holidays. In the meantime, do be sure to join our Discord or follow us on socials! Bloodlines 2 Twitter, Bloodlines 2 Facebook & Instagram.​

There are 0 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #13: What are we up to?

Tue 11 June 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 June 2024, 17:45:51

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age: The Veilguard


This video from the first moments of the game is just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s so much more to discover on this epic journey. You’ll explore Thedas, uniting a cast of (yes, romanceable!) companions as you fight against ancient elven gods. In this crafted character-driven RPG, you’ll visit meticulously crafted biomes and beautiful regions, some that you’ve only heard whispers about in Dragon Age lore, including Rivain, Weisshaupt, Arlathan, Minrathous, and the Deep Roads - to name a few. We’ll have a lot more coming this summer as we fully detail what’s in store.

You’ll begin by diving into the Character Creator. You’ll choose your class, lineage, gender, overall appearance and more. Choosing which faction Rook is part of will unlock different narrative, dialogue, and gameplay interactions.

Combat is another area that has a lot of depth to it - both in how you choose to defeat your enemies and its progression throughout the game. The game will support various skill levels, but at its core, Dragon Age: The Veilguard has fluid moment-to-moment combat where you can choose between three classes - Warrior, Mage, or Rogue – each having their own advanced specializations. There's also a layer of tactical depth for those who want to dig in, which we really didn't get to cover in the video.

Our new customizable ability wheel will help you turn the tide of battle at any time. It will allow you to pause the action, issue commands to your followers, use abilities, and unleash devastating combos. As you become more powerful, you can start to see the potential in how much fun (and hectic) things can get.

We're also giving the option to use some of your abilities via a shortcut. Giving you these different kinds of options is something we thought a lot about and wanted to provide so you can find the playstyle that best fits you.

Alright, that’s it for now as we’ll dive deeper into this and all things Dragon Age: The Veilguard through the Fall.​

There are 56 comments on Dragon Age: The Veilguard Official Gameplay Reveal

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Mon 10 June 2024

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 10 June 2024, 20:33:25

Tags: Avowed; Carrie Patel; Obsidian Entertainment


We also got a good look at the game’s upgrade system for skills and abilities. “You can upgrade your skills and abilities anywhere as you level up throughout the course of the game,” said Patel. “On certain level-up milestones we’ll get to upgrade our attributes […] and on every level-up milestone we’ll get to pick a new ability.”

This quickly bears fruit, as we see the Fan of Flames skill unlocked and used to reduce a previously-blocked path to ashes. But it wasn’t the only option:

“We wanted to try to, as much as possible, give the different abilities that players can pick up solutions in combat, but also solutions in exploration,” explained Patel. “So there’s almost always more than one way through a particular barrier. You’ll have weapons, your own abilities, spells, weapon enchantments, sometimes even your companions who can use their environmental abilities to help you get through barriers.”

That openness to problem-solving is never clearer than in the other quest we saw in the demo. Having recovered the vase for Yatzli – a key part in your journey to unlocking her as a permanent companion – we saw the player set off to recover an Adragan Heart for the Animancers. This mystical object is being held by the Delemgan, a territorial species who don’t take kindly to adventurers passing through their land.

Initially, we saw the player take a heads-on approach, battling through multiple Delemgan and using every combat ability at their disposal to reach their Queen – who immediately attacks the player for killing so many of her followers. This player would have to finish her off in a boss fight to claim the heart. But here’s where we saw some of Obsidian’s trademark of player choice.

The demo was reloaded, and we saw the player utilizing in-game currency to fully respec their character – adding multiple Ranger abilities that allow them to take a stealthy approach. Using the Shadowing Beyond skill – which renders them invisible for as long as their Essence (the game’s mana) intact, and without engaging any enemies – they took multiple passages to reach the Delemgan Queen without any combat. In doing so, they found her in a far better mood, gifting them the Heart and letting them go in peace.

It’s emblematic of how open Avowed will be to interpretation, and how your choices will allow you to take different paths to get what you need. Skills in particular, are totally open to how you choose to use them:

“You can really mix and match freely between them,” said Patel. “If you want to be all-wizard, you can build entirely throughout that skill tree; if you want to mix and match – make a battlemage, or make someone who can be a little stealthy in certain moments and a little more aggressive in others – you have a lot of freedom to do that.”

That openness extends to your cosmetic choices too. We got a glimpse at the game’s optional 3rd person mode – players can choose to play in 1st or 3rd person perspectives – and your choices will be displayed prominently on them too. Your character is a godlike – someone who has been touched by one of the gods that reside in the world of Eora – and it shows, quite literally.

Part of creating your character will be in choosing how your godlike status has manifested. The player-character in the demo has a lichen-like growth across their face or head, but this is part of the character creation process. “With Avowed you can choose exactly what that manifestation looks like,” said Patel. “You will have some that are a lot bigger and more dramatic, and you’ll also have some that are a lot subtler. But either way you have a connection to one of the gods.”

Characters in the world will react to your appearance too: “Some people think that’s very cool, some people think it’s very spooky. Different cultures and individuals have different ways of relating to godlikes, so you’ll get a number of reactions.”

But the key mystery is that, unlike most godlikes, you don’t know which god has put their mark on you. That’s a story point that Patel wouldn’t touch on further – we’ll just have to find out together when Avowed arrives this year.​

There are 48 comments on Avowed Deep Dive with Carrie Patel

Development Info - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Mon 10 June 2024, 15:04:59

Tags: Rafael Burgos; Star Valor

Two days late on this, but per this announcement on Steam, the top down space faring CRPG Star Valor is getting a new slice of that DLC pie. While the developer hasn't posted a video on it yet, he promises to do so as it gets closer to release, he did drop this:

Before launch I will make a livestream on my YouTube channel to show things in action, but in the meantime, here's a summary of what's to come in both the DLC and the Economy Update:
  • Build your own stations, turrets, power plants, mining bases, gates...
  • Influence item prices while Trading with NPCs
  • New ship models of all sizes
  • New ship roles
  • New "Tower Defense" inspired game mode
  • And of course, Lots of bug fixes and requests, like: More zoom out level, more special crewman, gunners auto mining, Fleet Commander leveling when mining, etc!
I hope you'll all enjoy it :)

You can check out previous streams with the developer right here. If you don't know what it is, SplatterCat has this for you:

I rarely ever get tired of this sub-sub-sub-genre. Factions to join or attack, trading, mining, missions, pirates, bounties, fleets, crews, crafting, and whatever else is left to toss in to space.

Thanks, Modron!

There are 0 comments on Star Valor DLC On Its Way

Sat 8 June 2024

Codex Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 8 June 2024, 20:35:23

Tags: Blankitt Productions; Monsters of Mican

Monsters of Mican is an unusual-looking Might & Magic-inspired indie dungeon crawler with a "whimsical" sense of humor released on Steam back in March. It's the kind of game that surely would have remained in complete obscurity if it hadn't been randomly spotted last month by our own JarlFrank, who as a fan of all things eccentric gave it a try and found that he liked it. In fact, he liked the game so much that he decided to contact its developer, a gentleman who goes by the name of Skittzo, to learn more. In the interview, Skittzo tells us what led him to create such a game, his thoughts about bespoke content vs procedural generation, and also about his plans for an open world follow-up called Magic of Mican. Here's an excerpt:

2. Monsters of Mican is very whimsical. Pretty much every piece of writing contains a joke and the majority of monsters are visual puns. What made you decide to go for this tone? Is it because funny monsters are easier to create with a limited budget? A lot of them feel cobbled together from various asset packs.

My writing style has always leaned heavily on humor and more particularly puns. I blame/cherish the QFG series for instilling that in me. Also as I noted above I was also using Dragon Quest for inspiration, which is also known for excellent monster puns.

Even if I had a larger budget and better modeling skills I think I would've used the same style of monster design. I have modeled a few from scratch before, and they'd all still wind up named Tyrannosaurus Specs (a dinosaur with glasses) or Raybee (a bee that shoots lasers from its stinger). A light, jovial tone is just something I've always appreciated in games that really resonate with me.

As for how these monsters were made, I would actually say that did more to inform the story of this game than it did the tone/sillyness. I started off under the presumption that most of the monsters I made would be placeholders until I could secure funding to contract artists, but I kept having so much fun combining and editing things that it made the story concept of the "amalgam anomaly" just click into place. I had always planned on there being an ancient event that brought all the monsters to the world but the way I designed this game is what really inspired me to write it in the way I did.

3. My favorite part of the game is its variety. Every dungeon level is different, with unique traps and puzzles and boss fights. How did you approach the level design for this game? Did you have any major inspirations to draw from (other RPGs, pen and paper modules, etc) or were most of your ideas original?

I approach game design as a player first, so I always look at what I've made and say "if I was playing the game would I enjoy this?" To that end one of my biggest gripes with RPGs specifically but a lot of games in general is the lack of meaningful variety in both combat and exploration. Sure, you can happen upon some aesthetically cool area in Skyrim like Blackreach but you'll still wind up traversing it the same way you would any other area. Or, in Breath of the Wild you'll see a new enemy but it's just a stronger reskin of the same thing you've been fighting over and over.

I wanted to make sure you never have that kind of feeling in my game. The variety needs to actually be meaningful- one level introduces collapsing floors, then the next powerful water currents, then lava fields and crushers. It serves both the effects of keeping the gameplay fresh and also actually reasonably reflecting the world/area you're supposed to be in. A mine can have collapsing floors, that makes sense. It probably won't have lava, and probably not pirate ships making waves. So save that for other levels!

Many of the actual features were my original ideas. Obviously a minecart ride is something that's been done (and I just wanted for the quick thrill of it) but that pirate ship idea, or freezing the water in the kraken lair, or giving the Zebrarian boss literal plot armor (made of books) were my original concepts.

4. Avoiding repetition is a worthy goal, and I feel like your dungeon design achieved that quite well. It's a great approach to level design especially in today's gaming world where procedural generation is being used more and more by both indies and larger companies - think of Skyrim's radiant quests and the flood of roguelikes and roguelites released nowadays. What do you think of this popularity of procedural generation among developers? Is level design becoming a lost art because of it? In my opinion, procedurally generated levels always feel the same, there's no variety because it's just an algorithm recombining the same elements over and over, unable to think outside of the box. Do you think we can fight back against this trend by developing games with excellent hand-made level design?

I tend to agree that procedural generation can be looked at as one of the root causes of games becoming stale and repetitive, but I don’t think it’s necessarily always the case or the only cause. Specifically for something like Skyrim, I believe the scope of the game is more to blame- you have hundreds upon hundreds of dungeons and NPCs and quests, and only a limited development team, so it is just a necessary fact of development that you’ll need to repeat certain themes, mechanics and elements. So in this instance I think the issue is more the scope of most bigger games from AAA publishers- the amount of content they think is necessary for consumers (rightly or wrongly, I can’t say for sure) drives the need for repetition.

That’s something that is mostly not an issue in the indie space. An exception as you mentioned is with roguelikes, and while I don’t necessarily agree that they always get repetitive (personally I think Binding of Isaac is one of my favorite indie games of all time) you can run into that trap. But here’s something I didn’t really understand fully until I started developing my own game:

Hand-made level design is hard!!! Like, really really hard!

Taking a completely blank slate and deciding on a theme, mechanics, gimmicks, and then eventually putting all the pieces together is an incredibly overwhelming and draining experience. It’s no wonder why procedural level generation is so popular, because it removes so many of the pitfalls and difficulties with this.

I’ve played with the idea of using procgen to come up with a base map, and then just editing that to match an idea in my mind, but even that can begin to feel repetitive and predictable for players, so I did wind up just making everything by hand, piece by piece, and I think I plan to do that for the next game too. Hopefully (for my sake) I can make a few custom tools that help make this process a bit faster to actually carry out, but mentally it is still quite draining trying to fill a blank slate like that.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: Monsters of Mican

There are 21 comments on RPG Codex Interview: Monsters of Mican

Tue 4 June 2024

Game News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Tue 4 June 2024, 13:58:26

Tags: Leikir Studio; Metal Slug Tactics

A brand spanking new trailer has dropped for Metal Slug Tactics, a game I didn't know I needed in my life until 30 seconds ago. It's been in development for quite a while, but they're resetting a new release date for Fall 2024 now. It's being developed by Leikir Studio and pretty much nails the nostalgia part of my neanderthal brain in ways I never thought possible. So, here's the important stuff:

Metal Slug Tactics offers a fresh perspective on the iconic battles of the METAL SLUG series. Lead your squad to victory through strategic guile and superior firepower in a perfect blend of classic action and tactical depth. Unleash powerful special attacks and shape the outcome of each encounter!

Accumulate experience after each battle to unlock new weapons or bonus perks to upgrade your team's firepower and tactical skills.

I'm pretty sure I still have the first game with box for the Sega Saturn in a box in the garage. Boy, does that bring back memories. I've also had a soft spot for these grid based tactical CRPGs, so this has me slightly pumped. And with huge pixel explosions? Oh yeah! You can wishlist it on their Steam page.

Thanks, Ghulgothas!

There are 23 comments on Metal Slug Tactics Still Kickin' (Ass) After All These Years

Mon 3 June 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 3 June 2024, 14:27:42

Tags: Baldur's Gate 3; Larian Studios


We come bringing news of Patch 7!

Finally, we hear you say - but don’t get ready to throw yourself into our next patch just yet, we’ve got a lot of work to do to bring you our first iteration of modding tools, evil endings, plus a whole bunch of fixes, quality of life improvements, and more that we’ll go into detail about in a future Community Update!

Coming to you this September, the next major update for Baldur’s Gate 3 will also introduce an officially sanctioned toolkit for giving Lae’zel a mullet. I mean, sure, go for it. You only live once.

As we mentioned in our last Community Update, we want you to have the opportunity to test out Patch 7 and the Baldur’s Gate 3 Toolkit so you can share your feedback with us before it goes live!

Patch 7 testing is now being split into a two-phase process, which begins with working closely with a small team of mod authors from the community. This is our closed alpha stage, where they’ll be able to help us further develop the modding tools, and have a go at bringing their existing mods to life using our Baldur’s Gate 3 Toolkit.

The closed alpha is set to kick off today, June 3rd, and we’ll be inviting more mod authors to take part over time.

Come July, we’ll be opening registration for a further closed beta, capped at roughly 1,000 players, that anyone on PC can go ahead and sign up for - and we want you to test the mods created during the alpha!

With the intention of working through your feedback throughout the summer, it will give us time to polish off Patch 7 ready for release in September. In the meantime, we still have plenty coming your way, including some anniversary extravagance as we look back on the months since release. We’re also still pressing on with the development of an in-game photo mode, crossplay, and more fixes that will arrive later down the line!

Catch up on what’s coming in Patch 7 and view a teaser for the improved evil endings by reading our last Community Update here: https://larian.club/CU26

For now, we want to give you a little insight into what official modding tools mean for Baldur’s Gate 3, and have put together an FAQ that aims to answer some of your burning questions!

Whether you are a seasoned modder excited to continue developing mods for Baldur’s Gate 3 or you are new to the scene and want to try your hand at bringing your ideas to life, our new modding pipeline aims to provide a convenient way for players and creators alike to access and manage mods across all platforms Baldur’s Gate 3 is released on, with improved compatibility, tools, and documentation.

First things first, what is a mod?
Whether you are turning fireballs pink, boosting the attack damage of a hand-wielded sausage, or bestowing all citizens of Faerûn with a personal handgun, modding lets you alter a game to change how it looks or behaves.

With the official Baldur's Gate 3 modding tools, you'll have what you need to add new weapons and armor, create new classes and subclasses, design new powerful spells, customise your game dice skins, and share your mods with a community of creators.

What does official support mean, as opposed to mods I’m using right now?
Updates to Baldur’s Gate 3 as well as conflicts between third-party mods can cause issues with game stability and prevent mods from working correctly. That’s where official support comes in.

We will never prevent modding outside of our own official pipeline, but implementing our own will improve compatibility and give us the opportunity to ensure they’ll work wherever you’re playing Baldur's Gate 3.

It’ll also ensure a smoother experience, at the cost of more script-focused modding, which can still be done outside of our pipeline. You’ll therefore have two choices for modding Baldur’s Gate 3, but we’ll only be able to officially support mods through mod.io.​

There are 15 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Community Update #27: Official Modding Support

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 3 June 2024, 12:00:00

Tags: Ossian Studios; Pathfinder: The Dragon's Demand


Ossian Studios is delighted to offer a sneak peek of our new Pathfinder game! For the last couple of years, we’ve been working on The Dragon’s Demand: a classic, turn-based CRPG using the Pathfinder Second Edition rules. It features a digital tabletop and miniatures for a stunning new graphical style. Check out our Kickstarter page below and follow us for news and updates. We’ll have more details for you very soon! www.dragonsdemand.com


There are 51 comments on Ossian Studios' next game is Pathfinder: The Dragon's Demand, a PF2E RPG coming to Kickstarter

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