Chris Livingston: Firsties
The Elite Dangerous 1.1 patch provided a number of fixes and updates, but one in particular caught my eye. There's apparently now a 'discovered by' tag on planets and stars that displays the name of the brave pilot who was first to scan them. In a cold virtual galaxy, being able to put a tiny stamp on your accomplishments is exciting.
Naturally, I just tried to jump in and see if my name was on any of the systems I've visited, but I can't seem to download the latest patch without an error (which puts a bit of a low on my high). Turning to the intrepid explorer Obi Wan KaToady, whom I follow on Twitter (and you should too if you're into Elite, as he posts some amazing pictures), it looks like the retroactive tagging system is indeed working. Cool. Soon as I can log into the universe, I'll see if I can find my name somewhere.
Andy Chalk: Bethesda doing E3
I'm tremendously excited by the news that Bethesda is going to hold its first E3 conference this year. Not because of any specific game that may be revealed during the big event, but because of the hype and misdirection that will surely precede it. Maybe it's weird, but I think the excited conversations and ridiculous conspiracy theories inspired by things like TheSurvivor2099 and Shadow of Boston are tremendously fun.
I can't help but admire the craftsmanship that goes into them, too, especially when it turns out that it wasn't the work of a deep-pocketed publisher, but just a guy with an idea, some time on his hands, and a few bucks to blow. I am absolutely hoping that Fallout 4 will be announced at E3, but even if it isn't, the pre-show shenanigans should be a lot of fun.
Andy Kelly: Besiege
Besiege is a game about building medieval siege machines. Using a simple editor you can piece together wooden blocks, pistons, wheels, blades, spikes, and other objects to create ye olde weapons of mass destruction, then smash through villages, castles, and armies of tiny, squishy knights. I was reluctant to try another comedy physics game, but then I spent some time on the Besiege subreddit. A few minutes there and I instantly bought it on Steam. You know how people always make giant dicks in Minecraft? This Besiege player has taken that idea to a monstrous new level. You can buy Besiege on Steam now for £5, but be warned: it’s in Early Access, and is a bit rough around the edges as a result.
Phil Savage: Entering our Dotage
Chris was teaching the UK team Dota 2 this week. It was probably the best way to be introduced to the game, by which I mean, this is how we were introduced to the game. More than inspiring gifs, though, we were getting the benefit of nearly 2,000 hours of experience and a pretty relaxed environment in which to learn. It occurs to me that, as much as Valve—as much as any developer—might want to make things less daunting for newcomers, there's no replacement for someone who knows what they're doing being patient and supportive. It also occurs to me that we've got a Steam group here and a comments thread below. If you've always fancied the idea of helping others learn a game you love, maybe consider offering your services.
Actually, I lied. This little guy was my high of the week. He is one cute mofo.
Samuel Roberts: Story comes first?
Oh wow, another seven days go by and I ask myself, did anything good happen this week? Well, sure it did! We waited a little longer to post our Sunless Sea review, and I’m glad we did—the end result by Chris is fantastic, and highlights a really interesting divide that sometimes happens when a game’s writing is fantastic, independent of every other form of interaction in that game. You’ve probably experienced it before—some of the Lucasarts point-and-click adventures, for example, where the puzzles are comparatively weak to the humour or drama. Personally, I tend to think great writing is worth some otherwise clunky elements. How about you?
Tim Clark: Blood on the motherboards
This week I asked (read: pressganged) our hardware editor Wes Fenlon to help me build a new PC, suitable for my tiny apartment here in ‘murica. The brief was simple: Quiet enough that it wouldn’t annoy my other half watching TV in the same room, powerful enough to run most new AAA games on ‘high’ settings without the framerate turning into a shuddering zoetrope, and plenty of scope to upgrade easily if it transpires I’m having to play The Witcher III in black and white to get decent results. You’ll be able to see the computer being put together soon, as part of a beginner’s guide video.
I’m not sure my highpoint will make the cut, though, which was, erm, Wes slicing his thumb atwain on the backplate and then proceeding to drizzle his precious lifejuice onto my shiny CPU. Who needs thermal paste, I guess? The only disappointing part that his clearly deliberate act of ritual sacrifice didn’t result in the blood fizzing as it made contact with the metal. Nonetheless, I am now looking for a suitably ominous, ideally Cthulhuian, name for my new PC. Suggestions in the comments please.