Predjama Castle in Slovenia is a real castle that is actually built into the side of a mountain. This old castle inspired map creator Yanzl’s popular de_castle map. 3kliksphilip traveled to the real castle to compare how accurate Yanzl’s castle map was.
Surprisingly, the map is really accurate. There are some differneces of course, but much of the map is based on real areas in and around the castle. Impressively map creator Yanzel explained to 3kliksphilip that he only visted the castle once as a kid and built the map based on memories and some photos. Seems Yanzel has a very good memory!
Fortnite is arguably the biggest game in the world right now. It certainly feels like it is. Nearly everywhere I look I see kids doing Fornite dances, ads for the game, people streaming the game and even Halloween costumes. But it also seems like most folks are focused on Battle Royale and not the other mode found in Fortnite, Save The World. Which I think is a shame. Save The World is really good and I think more people should play it.
The basic narrative setup of Save The World is that a giant supernatural storm has wiped out most life on Earth, leaving few human survivors and millions of deadly enemies called Husks. It is now up to players to help save these desperate survivors, destroy the Husks and end the storm.
Save The World spreads its narrative across a few different zones, each filled with missions, side quests and collectibles. A lot of missions in Save The World are about finding a spot on the map, building up around that spot and defending it from enemies for a period of time. But each map is randomly generated, making each mission feel different and helping the game feel less repetitive.
I was also surprised by the the writing which is often funny. The cast really helps too. The game features talented actors like Dave Fennoy (Lee in The Walking Dead), Ashley Burch (Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn) and Tom Scharpling (Greg Universe in the TV series Steven Universe).
The actual gameplay loop in the missions is strange and it took some time before I fully understood what was going on. When you start a mission, you and any friends you are playing with spawn into the randomly generated world. At this point you can locate your objective and start the mission immediately.
But this isn’t what you should actually do. Instead you’ll most likely spend 30 minutes or more exploring the map, collecting resources, completing smaller random events and killing enemies you encounter. And you’ll do this alone, as your friends will probably want to explore other parts of the map or will need different materials than you. So it’s a co-op game where you spend a good chunk of the mission not working together. Which is odd.
Once everyone is finished doing what they wanted to do, you’ll head towards the objective and start building together. Figuring out the best way to defend yourselves and working together to hold off hordes of dangerous monsters and zombies. And this part of the mission demands a lot of teamwork and communication.
Making sure everyone is on the same page and calling out boss enemies and other threats is key to surviving harder missions. Teams also need to use their different class abilities effectively, like the constructor who can strengthen buildings and heal walls.
This mission loop was weird to experience at first and it took my girlfriend and I several missions to collectively wrap our head around the idea of splitting up and doing things alone in a co-op game. But once we figured that out, we started having a ton of fun. It has become our most played game together.
This is because there is just a lot of stuff to do and collect in Save The World. Hundreds of weapons, traps, characters and more. New missions every day, new quests and challenges. Every time I log into Fortnite Save The World, I feel like I have a huge new checklist of content to do and see. It also helps that Fortnite has solid combat controls and building mechanics.
A recent update also made it a perfect time for new players to jump into Save The World. The update redesigned menus and upgrade systems, making it easier to actually figure out how to level up guns or modify character abilities.
My GF and I have been playing Fortnite Save The World for the last few months and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. While Save The World isn’t updated as often as Battle Royale, it still receives new events and content regularly. Best of all it supports cross play across Xbox One, PS4 and PC. (Save The World is not available on Switch or phones.)
The biggest reason why a lot of folks haven’t played Save The World is that players have to pay to gain access to this co-op mode. Epic has promised Save The World will go free-to-play, but has continued to delay this change.
So for now players will have to fork over about $40 before they can start saving the world. This isn’t cheap and for many this will be a deal breaker. But Save The World goes on sale fairly often, usually for below $30. You can also earn V-Bucks while playing, which you can spend in Battle Royale.
Even at full price, I think Save The World is worth the price of entry. It’s a co-op game filled with loot and new events that you can play with friends, regardless of what platform they are on and it has missions that cater to both die hard lone wolves and co-op loving heroes.
If you need a break from Battle Royale, Save The World might just be worth a shot.
What’s even funnier is this emulator renders at 1 frame per second. So that means YouTuber SethBling’s blazing fast time of 5.57 took about 15 minutes to complete.
Obviously, the fact the game is so slowed down is a big help, since it allows SethBling to get off the line perfectly, hit his shifts perfectly and nail what is considered the fastest playable time in the game. And he points out that, well, his run conforms to the rules for Dragster posted on speedrun.com, which specify that in-game time (not real time) is what counts, and allow for runs on emulation — which SethBling notes are usually rendered slower than on native hardware. (Probably not one effing eff ps though.)
For the record, the time of 5.57 is held by 16 players on speedrun.com, six of them not in emulation. SethBling is not on the leaderboard, so it sounds like he hasn’t submitted this performance for review.
The rest of the video shows how the emulator works with a variety of other Atari 2600 games. They’re playable, alright, with the slight qualifier that they are all slower than the molasses in January. But if you’re interested in seeing the Minecraft 2600 emulator all for yourself, SethBling has made the world available here.
Japan Studio posted a short, but fantastic blog post earlier this week showcasing the art and design process behind the PSVR game Astro Bot Rescue Mission.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission was a gorgeous game to play in VR and that art was created with a lot of thought and care. When making props and environments, art director Sebastian Brueckner wanted to make the world feel playful and digital. To achieve this effect, the team added small details like printed circuit boards and LED faceplates to props and items seen in the game.
Similarly, animations for all characters in the game went through a lot iteration to find a style that would work in VR.
The whole post is a fantastic peek into the development process and includes early looks at levels in Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Astro Bot Rescue Mission: Inside the Art and Animation of Japan Studio’s PS VR Hit (PlayStation Blog)
All hail the King of Atlantis: Aquaman is now officially DC’s top-grossing movie worldwide.
The underwater spectacle was treading water in the number two spot earlier in January, but thanks to another major weekend around the world, Jason Momoa’s superhero vehicle has reached a $1.09 billion worldwide total. That splashes past the $1.085 billion mark set by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, making the movie DC Comics and Warner Bros. top-performing superhero adaptation.
Though Aquaman now tops the DC charts, the James Wan-directed film is only the seventh top-grossing film comic book movie of all time. The top six are all Marvel Cinematic Universe titles, including Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man 3, Black Panther, then the three Avengers films taking the top three spots of the worldwide box office (Infinity War, first Avengers, and Ultron in that order, if you were curious).
When it comes to the domestic box office, however, Aquaman still staggers behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, with $316 million. The top domestic superhero movie? Black Panther, with over $700 million.
Star Wars games like Galaxy of Heroes and LEGO Star Wars include hundreds of characters. Some are popular, like Han Solo or Darth Vader. But many of these games also include lesser-known or obscure characters, like Bib Fortuna. Yet after decades of Star Wars games, everybody keeps omitting a character. A Jedi Master who sat on the Jedi Council, who was incredibly wise and patient. I’m talking of course about Yaddle. Why is she being overlooked and how can we fix this?
Yaddle is a Jedi who is of the same species as Yoda. What species is that? Good question, Star Wars lore has never really given Yoda or Yaddle’s species a specific name or history. George Lucas was always very clear that Yoda’s species was to be kept a secret. This rule was strictly enforced by Lucasfilm. Though Lucas has in the past joked that Yoda was the illegitimate son of Kermit and Miss Piggy, which would be a secret worth keeping.
Like Yoda, Yaddle was a powerful Jedi who was also incredibly smart. And yes, like Yoda she also spoke a bit weirdly, mixing her words around. But Yaddle wasn’t just a female version of Yoda. In her Legends history she was a brave and fierce warrior Jedi, who could handle getting tortured without giving up any information. She also spent 100 years in isolation, fighting off giant creatures with a wooden stick and surviving on scraps of food. Of course almost all of Yaddle’s original history is now non-canon, but she herself is still very much canon.
Yaddle made her first appearance in Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace. She is seen as a sitting member of the Jedi Council. She was there when a young Anakin was brought in front of the council for testing. And here’s something to think about: When she was on the council, they correctly told Qui-Gon, the Jedi who found Anakin, that he shouldn’t train the young boy.
But, in Attack of The Clones, Yaddle is no longer on the council. In fact, she is never seen in the films again. What happened when Yaddle left? The Jedi trained Anakin, helped him, allowed him to get close to Palpatine and eventually got destroyed by the Sith master and his new apprentice, the former Anakin, now known as Darth Vader. Whoops!
Yaddle leaves for a vacation and the entire Jedi Council collectively screws everything up. Good job, Yoda.
So, now you know what I know: Yaddle is a bad-ass Jedi warrior, incredibly smart, appeared in the first film on the Jedi Council and in the old canon saved an entire city by sacrificing herself. And yet, she has never appeared in a video game. Not even in a small cameo.
Meanwhile, games like Galaxy of Heroes include characters like Zam Wessel. Zam is also known as that weird-shape-shifting-bounty-hunter-assassin-alien who tried to kill Padme in Episode II. What a memorable and great character to include in your video game. We’ve gotten multiple games where you can play as random Stormtroopers, but not a single game where Yaddle is playable in any form.
Maybe Lucasfilm had a rule against including Yaddle in games. But if so, why did this rule exist and why does Disney continue to deny us Yaddle? It’s not like Yaddle never appeared in other media. She has appeared in various books and comics. Yet she has never been allowed to run around a video game.
I understand some might not care about Yaddle and in fact when I mention Yaddle to people they usually don’t believe that she even existed. They start to laugh and think I’m joking. But Yaddle isn’t a joke and it is time to finally put the noble Jedi Yaddle into a video game.
EA keeps canceling Star Wars games, so they might need a pitch for a new one. Here’s my pitch: Yaddle: A Star Wars Adventure. You play as Yaddle and fight things and other stuff happens. Look I’m not a game designer, but I think it could work.
The year is 2019 and I believe we are ready for a Yaddle renaissance. Your move Disney.
Doom and Zelda don’t have a lot in common beyond heroes killing a bunch of monsters. But one modder, Exkodius, has spent the last three years trying to recreate the original The Legend of Zelda in the Doom engine.
Their work so far is impressive, with fantastic visuals that immediately capture the look of a classic 8-bit game, but in a 3D perspective.
Unfortunately, Exkodius doesn’t have the time to fully complete their project. So they’ve released the files and a demo of the project onto the internet.
“I really hope someone with the passion or just the know how can have some use of this and maybe even finish it?” said Exkodius on the Moddb page for their Zelda/Doom mod.
Even unfinished, the mod is impressive and hopefully someone will either finish the mod or Exkodius will find the time to return to their project and finish it.
If you want to play this Doom mod, download the files and follow the instructions on the Moddb page.
What’s going on with Anthem? Why can’t I get into this “VIP Demo”? BioWare’s head of live service sought to answer those questions and reassure players that the studio knows exactly what the problems are as it works to resolve them.
There are three main problems, Chad Robertson wrote yesterday evening: The spike of players entering Anthem’s demo on Friday; problems with some accounts being blocked from the demo because of how they had been flagged internally, and “infinite loads” caused by some interactions between internet service providers and players’ home networks.
In all three cases, Robertson said, BioWare is working toward solutions, with the “infinite loading” problem being the toughest to address. It’s “something we may not resolve during this weekend,” he said. “Many players are not seeing this issue and the last thing we want to do is destabilize the experience for everyone.”
The problem with account flags is tied to their entitlements — that is, things such as access to the demo and pre-order bonus content. “During the demo weekend, we identified a bug where VIP players with a specific combination of entitlements were being blocked from accessing the demo,” Robertson wrote. “We believe we’ve resolved most of these, but have additional cases we are addressing.”
The problem caused by players surging into the demo on Friday is not because of server capacity, Robertson said. The issues that spike caused “did not present themselves during our internal testing,” he said. Fixes for these issues will be applied throughout the weekend.
“I want to dispel one comment we’ve seen: that we under-planned for server capacity,” Robertson said. “To ensure stability, we intended to manage our servers to match the player population as it grew. Overall, we had excess capacity prepared for population increases, and continue to do so.”
But Robertson acknowledged that the game did not work as designed to meet players’ expectations, whatever the specific problem may be.
Anthem, BioWare’s open-world MMO shooter, is due to launch Feb. 22, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Friday it kicked off an early access demo for players who had pre-ordered the game or subscribed to Electronic Arts’ two premium Access services. Almost immediately, many had problems either getting into the game or launching a mission from the hub world. The surge also seemed to affect getting into all other Electronic Arts games and services.
The game’s official Twitter feed said late yesterday that players on all three platforms “should not have issues accessing the VIP demo” though engineers were still “working hard to resolve some known issues.” From what I was able to observe, this is technically correct. I had no problem accessing Anthem and walking around the Fort Tarsis hub world. But trying to launch my first expedition resulted in the infinite load problem described, and I gave up on that after three tries.
The “VIP Demo” was offered as an incentive for pre-ordering the $59.99 game or subscribing to EA’s Origin Access or EA Access programs, which are $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year. That offers one week of play ahead of the demo’s free launch to the rest of the public on Feb. 1.
Robertson did not say anything about extending either the demo or the VIP period in light of the problems playing Anthem. But players who were entitled to the VIP Demo will get an additional armor skin when the game launches. Robertson said that Anthem has still had “many players enjoying the game,” and said it was “incredibly humbling” to see more than 300,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch, and more than 100 million minutes watched. “Those are Fortnite-type numbers!” he added.
“We believe we’ve created an amazing game and we’re doing everything we can to ensure our entire community can enjoy it,” he said.
Steven Universe has always been invested in queer representation. Rebecca Sugar and her team have worked to present the lives and loves of LGBTQ+ people in ways comprehensible to kids and palatable to censors, building a story about found family and the freedom to love who you want out of a space opera about sentient gemstones and a gregarious magical child.
But in the latest arc, the show has told a more specific story, one that speaks to me very personally. It’s not just a metaphorically queer story. Instead, it re-positions all of Steven Universe as a metaphorically trans one.
Steven Universe has always been preoccupied with identity. Who is Steven, and what relationship does he really have to his mother, Rose Quartz, who gave her existence (and her gem) to allow him to be born? How does he live up to his mother’s legacy, and what does that even mean? The recent revelation that Rose is actually Pink Diamond, heir to an interstellar empire, makes those questions even more intense, and much of the show’s runtime has been spent with Steven learning to come to terms with who his mother was and wasn’t.
The latest arc, taking place on Homeworld, changes the terms of that conversation. When Steven enters the world of the Diamonds, he’s not seen as Pink Diamond’s descendant. Blue, Yellow, and White Diamond don’t even know what a descendant is. Gem society has no children, no parenting, not even any boys. Instead, by their understanding, Steven literally is Pink Diamond, either faking it in a strange disguise or suffering from some sort of amnesia. According to them, the human boy Steven Universe doesn’t exist. He’s just a persona. A mask.
For transgender viewers, that framing of the relationship between Steven and Pink might strike a nerve. It certainly did with me. For a lot of us, being trans looks like a complete change in persona—a new name, a new appearance, even a new personality. A gender transition (for those of us who do transition) can, over time, render you unrecognizable, an entirely different person in the same spot where the old one stood. And even those of us who don’t transition can take on significant changes—a new name, new pronouns. One of the quintessential struggles of trans-ness, then, is getting other people, especially people from our past, to understand and accept these new changes. And, in some cases, to even believe they’re legitimate—that you are, in fact, who and what you say you are.
The interactions and experiences Steven goes through during his time on Homeworld are strikingly similar to the struggles of a trans person facing an unaccepting or misunderstanding family. He constantly struggles to get the people around him to use his name—they insist on calling him Pink Diamond. Blue and Yellow regularly express bewilderment when Steven indicates that he’s not Pink in any way, or when he behaves in any way differently from their preconceptions about her. What’s worse, Yellow and White Diamond both express a belief that Steven isn’t, well, real. That Pink is still Pink, somewhere in there, just playing one of her “little games.”
The trans subtext comes to a head in “Change Your Mind,” a special that’s as much about the Diamonds learning to accept Steven as himself as it is about the Diamonds learning how to heal their broken family. As Blue, Yellow, and eventually even White come around to Steven’s side, they also come around to respecting his identity—in one fantastic moment, Blue tells Yellow, “I believe she prefers to be called Steven.” (Okay, she got his pronouns wrong, but we can maybe overlook that due to Homeworld literally not having any men. She’ll get there.) Both Blue and Yellow begin addressing Steven as himself, and when Steven confronts White Diamond, this is the issue raised to the surface.
White insists that Steven isn’t a real person and—in a rhetorical gesture that’s bound to be sadly familiar to a lot of trans viewers—suggests, instead, that he’s just an expression of Pink’s own psychological issues. This culminates in her straight-up removing his gem in an effort to prove her point. Soon after, the gem reforms, not as Pink Diamond or Rose Quartz, but as Steven. And when White asks where Pink is, this reformed Steven Gem roars, with a justified fury: “She’s gone!”
They’re gone. In that one scene, Sugar and co. manage to illustrate the struggle of a trans person trying to demonstrate to their family that, yes, I am who I say I am. I really am a girl. Or a boy. Or non-binary. In reality, we can’t tear our insides out and present them to the people questioning us. But I know I’ve certainly wished I could, just to end the doubt. And there are some people who, like White Diamond, are unlikely to listen to anything less.
“Change Your Mind” ends with one of the simplest, but most important songs in the whole series. In it, Steven sings a message that seems aimed at every queer or trans kid who can’t find the acceptance they want. He sings:
I don’t need you to respect me, I respect me
I don’t need you to love me, I love me
But I want you to know you could know me
If you change your mind
When I was a kid, there weren’t any shows on television with such vivid, and moving, trans subtext. I’m glad kids growing up today have this one.
Sora, Goofy and Donald Duck team up once more to take down evil in this week’s biggest release: Kingdom Hearts 3. I hear a lot of folks enjoy them some Kingdom Hearts and they now will finally be able to play this long awaited sequel. Which is great! Hope it was worth the wait!
As a big fan of Valve games, I know what it is like to wait years and years for the third game in your favorite franchise. Maybe one day I’ll get to play Portal 3...
Beyond Kingdom Hearts, the upcoming week is packed with a whole bunch of games. If you are looking for some traffic puzzles to solve Unblock Gridlock looks nice. Also a cold and icy new Subnautica spin off hits PC early access later this week.