Google Fiber Has Dropped Its Free Tier In Kansas City

Google Fiber is Googles way of providing the internet for a variety of users, with a wide range of choices to help people in all situations. Their $70 gigabit internet access was their most commonly known option, but for those in Kansas City you could also get 5Mbps internet for a small construction fee, or at least you could as it would appear that Google Fiber has now dropped its free tier. The free 5Mbps option is now longer available for selection

The free 5 Mbps option is no longer available for selection, with a new 100 Mbps costing $50 a month and the $100 installation fee waived in exchange for a one-year commitment. Those who are currently on the tier have until the 19th May to say they want to keep it, but with the option also being available in Austin and Provo, the question is will they soon lose the low-cost option.

With the removal being unannounced and no word from Google yet regarding the removal, it is up to anyone’s guess why they have made this move. It could simply be that the days of fiber being considered a luxury experiment are over and with so many people now offering fiber connections for cheap prices, Google fiber may just need to start making money.

WordPress Enables Free HTTPS Connections to Custom Domains

WordPress is a free, open source content management system, typically used for blogs and quick makeshift websites. While it’s nice to have your own content, you want to make sure that its safe and secure, something which the “Lets Encrypt” project hopes to improve upon, a project that WordPress have now joined.

The Lets Encrypt Project announced on March 9th that it would soon take on a new name as it transitioned to its new home at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) a group specialising in the law, security and technology.

WordPress has now announced that it has joined the program, offering the green lock symbol everyone loves to see when travelling through the internet, with any custom domains (those that don’t have .wordpress.com in their address) now gaining the benefits of the free SSL certificate issues by the program automatically with little to no effort on their owners behalf. You can find the steps to give your website access to HTTPS certificates here, giving everyone the benefit of free and reinforced security for their websites.

Not only is it free but you get a more secure connection for minimal effort, something that has been hard to do for website up until now. What is not to like about this program? Especially those with WordPress blogs.

EVGA Bundles Grey Goo With Select Power Supplies

Getting free games bundles with your graphics card or motherboard isn’t something new, that has been around for quite a while now, but it is a rarity that we also see games being bundled with power supplies. In fact, I can’t remember it happening before myself. However, that is exactly what EVGA has done as the have gone ahead and bundled Grey Goo Definitive Edition with select power supplies.

The game isn’t just bundled with a one or two power supplies, this offer applies to pretty much the entire 80Plus Gold, Platinum, and Titanium rated power supply lineup, as you can see in the list below. Ranging from entry level 550W models all the way up to impressive 1600W models, the offer is made available for most people.

Grey Goo is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that combines classic strategy mechanics and a balanced combat system with an emphasis on large-scale decision-making. It puts you at the centre of a tactical struggle for survival – and ultimately, control of Ecosystem 9.

The game features both a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer action with your friends and enemies. In single player, you have the option to play one of three factions: Humans, Beta, and the Goo. The Humans are the masters of defensive architecture while the Beta only is described as a proud and versatile alien race. The Goo is probably what most people will want to play tho as that is the enigmatic and highly mobile life form made up of, yes you guessed it, grey goo. In the multiplayer part, you also get a fourth faction, the disruptive and unpredictable Shroud.

As always with this kind of offer, there are a few conditions to get the free game. You’ll have to have purchased the power supply on March the 25th, 2016 or later from an authorized reseller. You’ll also need to register the purchased product to get the game key. Once you’ve followed the redeem guide, you’ll get a game code emailed that you then can activate through your Steam app as you most likely have done with so many games before.

All the fine-print and the links to redeem your game can be found on the official mini-site for this Grey Goo offer.

https://youtu.be/iiCe_OdMgDs

Google Makes Photography Tools Free

Google has lots of software under its belt, one of which was the mobile editing app Snapseed. They gained control of this back in 2012 when it acquired the German Developer Nik, creator of Snapseed and several other photography tools. In its latest move with the software, Google has made the photography tools it acquired free.

The photography tools are part of the Nik Collection, a grouping of desktop plug-ins aimed at helping photographers with their images. Below is a list of the tools which integrate with Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop:

  • Analog Efex Pro
    • “Explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.”
  • Color Efex Pro
    • “A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.”
  • Silver Efe Pro
    • “Master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.”
  • Viveza
    • “Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.”
  • HDR Efex Pro
    • “From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.”
  • Sharpener Pro
    • “Bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.”
  • Dfine
    • “Improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera.”

You can grab the collection from here for free, and if you purchased it (for the previous price of $149) this year you will automatically be rewarded. While the move suggests there will no future support for the tools, the fact that everyone can use them will surely only improve interest in the product and services the company provides.

Images courtesy of Ivan Slade and Saurabh Paranjape

OCUK Offers Free SSD with ASUS GTX 970 Graphics Cards

Who doesn’t like to get free stuff? And especially when it is something as sweet as a solid state drive. That is what you currently can get, at least if you purchase one of the participating ASUS GTX 970 graphics cards at Overclockers UK.

For a limited time, and as long as stock lasts – as always – you can get a Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB solid state drive for free on top of the Nvidia based GTX 970 graphics card that your purchasing. It isn’t just some cheap SSD either as it comes from Kingston’s HyperX division. The 7mm slim 2.5-inch SSD delivers a solid performance, and for free, who can complain. You still get the bundled game Tom Clancy’s The Division on top too, making this a very good deal for a well-performing graphics card.

Speaking of the graphics card, the first of the two participating ASUS graphics cards are the GTX 970 DirectCU II OC Strix with 4GB GDDR5 memory, a core clock of 1141MHz, and a boost clock up to 1253MHz. The second card is the GeForce GTX 970 Turbo OC which also comes with 4GB GDDR5 memory, but a slower clock speed. The Turbo OC has a core clock of 1088MHz and a boost clock of 1228MHz.

Which of the two cards you pick for your setup is based on optical preference, amount you want to spend, and probably more things too – but it is safe to say that both are great graphics cards where you get a lot of bang for the buck, especially considering the extras you get in this deal. The DirectCU II OC Strix will set you back £299.99 while the Turbo OC will cost a little less and set you back £275.99.

Will you be picking up one of these deals? And if, which of the two cards will you go for. Let us know in the comments.

Software Behind Futurama and Princess Mononoke Is Going Open Source

When it comes to software these days there are always options for you to choose from. The big decision is often based on your budget. If you were interested in making your own anime then you might be in luck as the software some great shows is going open source.

Toonz is a company that develops several pieces of software and even without knowing it you have probably seen it in use. Their main piece of software is an animation tool that helps with cleaning up drawings, composing and animating images and has been used on some big names.

It was thanks to Toonz software that we have Futurama and Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. The problem was often though that software of such high calibre needs maintenance and, therefore, a license cost (rumoured to be upward of $10,000 per each license). The program though has been brought out as part of a deal with Dwango, a term of the sale though is that the tool will become open source.

The new tool, OpenToonz, will feature functions developed by Studio Ghibli and the new tool looks to have “research labs and the animated film industry actively cooperating with each other”. The cost of the product will instead be recovered through training, support and customization services, leaving everyone from a teenager at home to a company to explore the software as they wish.

Dying Light The Following Comes To GOG

Dying Light features you playing in the city of Haran, overrun by zombies, with a few safe havens separating the masses from the threat. In order to stay alive ‘runners’ do just as they are called, run. Running to and from drops with supplies and a preventative measure that helps those infected, users need to use every weapon and tool they can make and find in order to traverse the cityscape and survive the night. If that sounds like your cup of tea you can now find the Dying Light The Following on Good Old Games (GOG).

GOG is known for providing DRM (data right management) free games, removing the “online” required status that comes with many games (including some single player games). If you were worried that the four player co-op feature of Dying Light is lost if you get the game through GOG, do not fret. The multiplayer features of Dying Light will be available through GOG Galaxy, the new multiplayer system that GOG hopes will keep some of their more dated games viable for multiplayer well after the original servers and systems are offline.

If you were worried that the four player co-op feature of Dying Light is lost if you get the game through GOG, do not fret. The multiplayer features of Dying Light will be available through GOG Galaxy, the new multiplayer system that GOG hopes will keep some of their more dated games viable for multiplayer well after the original servers and systems are offline.

Featuring the basic game, the Following expansion and not one but four DLC’s including the Bozak Horde game mode, the game looks to promise you everything you need without shackles. For a limited time, the game also has 17% off, giving you the whole bundle for just £33.29.

You can find the game here, and we will see you on the rooftops.

Sony Hands Out Free Game Codes To Compensate For 2011 Hack

A few years ago Sony had a rather bad hack, which affected around 70 million of their customers. In the wake of the hack, Sony offered to renew its efforts to increase security alongside some gifts to appease players who suffered during the 23-day outage. As of March 2nd, you may find that the promised free game codes have finally arrived.

Depending on the services you were signed up to when the hack happened (PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment), you can claim a variety of rewards. As part of Sony’s initial scheme people were offered to grab a game, but don’t worry if you didn’t manage to grab one all the time back then, you can grab two now.

The games available vary based on which of the available platforms you wish to collect your reward for, with the Playstation 3, Vita and PSP all being offered free rewards as a sorry. If you want to grab a game you can now get inFamous, LittleBigPlanet and even the God Of War HD Collection for free but they will be limited to the aforementioned consoles.

With the lawsuit spawning this reward scheme valued at $2.75 million, Sony must be happy that they can get away with a few free games or even a little account credit or PSN time almost five years since the hack began the security awareness that so many companies are still suffering from.

AMD Teases Possible External GPU Standard

Gaming is a lot of fun and small computer systems are a joy because they are easier to carry around, but what if you want the graphics performance to be optional? For that to be an option we need some proper external graphics card support and it looks like AMD is working on just that, again.

We have seen multiple external graphics card solution over time such as Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier or MSI’s Gaming Dock that solve the problem with lack of graphics power in portable systems without increasing the size and weight of the ultrabook or laptop itself, but they’ve been limited to specific devices and that can be an issue that holds the adoption rate back.

AMD’s Robert Hallock teased us with something new via Facebook that indicates that AMD could be working on just such a solution. This isn’t the first time that AMD’s graphics department wants to do something like that, although they still were called ATI at the time. Some might remember the ATI XGP (eXternal Graphics Platform) from 7-years ago that already attempted this, but it never gained the large traction due to its natural limitations.

Ultrathin notebooks are awesome for their portability, but nobody in their right mind would use them as a gaming notebook. Those are some heavy items that while still portable, weigh as much as a stationary mITX system. This is where external graphics solutions come into play and we’re able to get the same graphics performance from a small portable system when needed while keeping it light enough to take everywhere for normal usage.

“External GPUs are the answer. External GPUs with standardized connectors, cables, drivers, plug’n’play, OS support, etc.”

AMD is a big believer in open and free standards and the way everything is worded points in the same direction rather than a single locked down product with an AMD branding. Standardization could make a huge difference here as long as the manufacturers adopt it and bring it to the market. Oh and just to clarify, none of the shown examples of external graphics solutions here is the new deal. Robert himself teased with a Razer Core graphics enclosure equipped with an AMD Radeon Nano card.

The teaser ends with the words “More info very soon”, maybe GDC? Only time will tell, but we’ll stay on the ball and keep you informed.

BBC Micro Bit Shipping Date Revealed

BBC’s Micro Bit pocket-sized and programmable computer is an amazing little piece of technology, but the best of all is that one million of them will be given free to any year 7 pupils across the UK. Originally the BBC Micro Bit should have started shipping out October last year, but there were issues with the power and the project release got pushed back. At first, it was said that teachers should have the new units in December last year with students receiving them early this year. But that didn’t happen and it got pushed once again. Last month we got another minor delay as teachers already should have had their units ahead of the February half term, but that didn’t happen either.

Enough with the old bad news, time for the good news. The Micro Bit is ready and broadcaster has confirmed a countrywide roll-out of the one million devices for pupils will begin before easter. Naturally they won’t send out all at once, but they will start to ship officially on March the 22nd. So mark your calendars if you got children of that age, you might have new toys to play with soon.

Sinead Rocks, head of BBC learning, said: “It has been a joy to see these micro:bits make their way to educators across the country over the last couple of weeks. It feels like this adventure into the world of coding is really gaining pace. And so it’s with great excitement that we will be starting our delivery to pupils on March 22.”

The Micro bit (micro:bit) is a handheld and fully-programmable computer that encourages children to get creative with technology. The 4cm by 5cm device is the successor to the popular 1980s home computer, BBC Micro, and includes a Bluetooth antenna, USB plug and a processor, linked to a printed circuit board with 25 red LED lights which flash messages.

The BBC is yet to announce when the Micro Bit will be available for the public to buy and how much it will cost us ordinary mortals.

AMD Bundles Hitman with GPUs and CPUs

Freebies are something that we all like and AMD has now bundled the new Hitman game with some of their graphics cards and processors as well as systems prebuilt with these components. AMD has partnered with IO Interactive again to bring this deal and they also joined the AMD Gaming Evolved program in order to get the best out of the hardware with top-flight effects and performance optimizations for PC gamers.

The bundle deal runs from the February the 16th and it is valid with the purchase of selected products from participating retailers – as it always is. In this round, AMD bundles Hitman with their Radeon R9 390 and 390X graphics cards as well as their FX 6 and 8 core processors (PIB). The bundle will last until 30th of April 2016 or whilst supplies last. Vouchers can be redeemed until 30th of June 2016.

The new Hitman game is offered in a seasonal fashion with a base game and periodic add-ons that will continue the story, but it is handled in the best possible way. The full experience with the full season off new missions won’t cost more than other games costs in themselves without DLCs and this AMD bundle also includes the full game rather than just the initial release. You will also get access to the BETA for Hitman that will run from the 19th to the 22nd February.

Those that have upgraded to Windows 10 will have the best experience with this new game as it has been built to take advantage of DX12, a feature that will make a very noticeable difference for AMD CPU users.

“Hitman will leverage unique DX12 hardware found in only AMD Radeon GPUs, called asynchronous compute engines, to handle heavier workloads and better image quality without compromising performance. PC gamers may have heard of asynchronous compute already, and Hitman demonstrates the best implementation of this exciting technology yet.”

You can find all the fine print and redeem your game code on the official Hitman mini-site. The beta phase is almost here, so it might be time to make that upgrade that you’ve holding back with. The full hardware specifications and recommendations have also been published a few days ago, in case you missed them.

Make War Not Love 3 Bundle is Now Free on Steam

Back in their heyday, SEGA used to release a huge array of unique games including Golden Axe, Shenmue, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and more. Furthermore, they continued to innovate and worked on new IPs instead of relying too much on previously successful titles. Throughout history, SEGA made a profound impact on the industry, and spearheaded new experiences. For example, Shenmue is one of my favourite games of all time, and it’s quite difficult to explain. It almost falls into a genre of its own, and feels so special to anyone who played it at the time. Even today, the game’s beautiful setting, and endearing story holds up remarkably well.

Sadly, SEGA’s floundering attitude towards console hardware confused consumers and made them extremely angry. The company bamboozled gamers with quick-fire releases of the 32X, SEGA Saturn and eventually SEGA Dreamcast. As you can imagine, console players like to invest in a system and feel like it’s going to be supported for a considerable amount of time. SEGA didn’t understand this notion and alienated early adopters. It’s such a crying shame that part of the Dreamcast’s failure stemmed from poor business decisions. This meant people distrusted SEGA and couldn’t be convinced to purchase their latest product.

This is rather upsetting because the Dreamcast has a phenomenal library, and cancelled well before its time. Thankfully, SEGA still exists as a publisher and releases some games. Although, the quality of these has become suspect in recent years as demonstrated by Sonic Boom. It’s unfair to say this is the complete picture though because Sonic Generations really evoked the old school SEGA feel. During this week, the company collaborated with Valve to offer a host of classic titles for free!

The bundle includes Golden Axe, Hell Yeah! Pimp My Rabbit Pack, Hell Yeah! Virtual Rabbit Missions, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, Jet Set Radio and SEGA Classics. This equates to a value of £22.64 and should provide hours of entertainment! To add the bundle to your library all you need to do is navigate to this Steam page, and click Install Game. Once completed all of the games will be permanently added to your library.

What is your favourite retro game of all time?

Amazon Releases AAA Game Engine For Free

Game developers can choose from a huge array of tools including Unity, Unreal Engine 4, Game Maker Studio and more! The latest addition comes from Amazon and allows for complex visuals to create absolutely breathtaking AAA releases. The Lumberyard engine adopts an open source philosophy meaning it’s free to download, and features a comprehensive editor. Furthermore, the source code is deeply integrated with AWS and Twitch to provide unlimited possibilities. It’s important to note that the source code is fully customizable, and there’s no seat fees, subscription fees or requirements to share revenue. The only payment comes from the AWS services you choose to use.

In regards to Twitch functionality, Amazon claim the engine:

“…is integrated with Twitch so that you can build games that engage with the more than 1.7 million monthly broadcasters, and more than 100 million monthly viewers on Twitch. With Amazon Lumberyard’s Twitch ChatPlay, you can use a drag-and-drop visual scripting interface to create gameplay features in as little as minutes that let Twitch viewers use chat to directly impact the game they are watching in real-time. And, the Twitch JoinIn feature within Amazon Lumberyard helps you build games that let Twitch broadcasters to instantly invite their live audiences to join them side-by-side in the game, with a single click, while others continue to watch.”

The source code is native C++ used on over 90% of PC and console development projects. This should make the engine extremely easy to use to those with industry experience. On another note, Amazon’s Lumberyard includes an exclusive free version of Audiokinect’s advanced sound engine and authoring tool for PC games. This means you can create rich and professional soundscapes for a wide range of titles. Overall, this is a wonderful set of tools, and it’s great to see this being provided at zero cost. If you’re a professional developer, or wanting to hone your skills, it’s certainly worth a look!

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is Now Free For a Limited Time

EA has a poor reputation among the gaming community due to the implementation of DLC, microtransactions, pre-order bonuses and other anti-consumer initiatives. Furthermore, their behaviour resulted in the demise of various franchises including Dead Space and Medal of Honor. This is a crying shame because the Dead Space series originally evoked such a tense, atmospheric feel and eventually went onto become a generic third-person action game. On another note, EA decided to make their games exclusive to the Origin digital distribution service and gamers could no longer use their favourite client, Steam. Consumers are quite vocal in their distaste for the Origin system and prefer to have a huge catalogue of games in one client.

Arguably, there’s some logic in EA’s decision because they didn’t want to accept Valve’s cut for selling games on the Steam service. Although, I do wonder if the company would still be making more money on Steam due to the significantly higher user base. Whatever the case, Origin isn’t a terrible system and includes a number of interesting features such as the Great Game Guarantee. This allows the end-user to acquire a refund incase the game doesn’t meet their expectations or run properly. Every so often, EA also launches a promotion entitled, ‘On The House’ which grants access to a major release for FREE! The latest game to be added to the promotion is Need For Speed: Most Wanted.

While it’s technically part of the Need For Speed series, the game really is a modernized version of Burnout Paradise. This isn’t surprising as it’s made by Criterion Games, one of the most iconic racing developers ever created. Need For Speed: Most Wanted isn’t the best game I’ve played but it’s certainly a lot of fun hurtling around corners and avoiding oncoming traffic. Please be aware the promotion can end quite abruptly as shown by the recent Jade Empire deal.

EVGA Bundles Action-RPG Bombshell With Select GPUs

Everyone likes to get things for free and you will if you purchase one of EVGA’s graphics cards Nvidia GTX 900 series graphics cards. For a limited time, EVGA will bundle codes for action role-playing game Bombshell with the purchase of EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN X, 980 Ti, 980, 970, 960, and 950 graphics cards.

Bombshell comes from the creators of Rise of the Triad and legendary game maker 3D Realms. Some of our readers might not be old enough to remember Rise of the Triad, also known as ROTT, but it was a groundbreaking first person shooter game back in the 90s. There was a recent remake of the original game that came out in the end of 2013, but the original is what I’ll remember.

“Bomb disposal technician turned mercenary for hire, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison must strong-arm her way across 4 planets in an Unreal Engine-powered galactic adventure to rescue the president from an apocalyptic alien threat. With out-of-this-world enemies, a never-before-seen arsenal of devastating weaponry and a host of genre-crossing mechanics, Bombshell is set to blow you away.”

The basic story plot of the game is pretty generic in its form, you have to save the president. But other than that, it looks pretty fun. You travel the dying world of Kyrron as it’s consumed by its neighboring sun. You’ll then have to shell, shock and shatter your way through vicious, bloodthirsty predators, an augmented alien species, and the remnants of an ancient race re-animated, with more than 10 weaponized arm modifications.

Your hero, Shelly Bombshell Harrison, has fierce finishing moves and can use the interactive environments make to make her as dynamic as she is deadly. The game is described as a brutal shooting game mixed with classic role-playing mechanics, which both should speak to a lot of people. Those are two of the biggest game genres.

The game is enhanced for use with Nvidia based graphics cards, which is why it comes bundled with those and not the entire EVGA lineup. The game has been enhanced with NVIDIA HBAO+, PhysX and Turbulence Technologies for lifelike physics effects and realistic shadows.

Normally the game will set you back €35.99 on Steam, so it is a nice gift to get along with your new graphics card as well as something to test your new found capabilities thanks to the GTX 900 series graphics cards. You can check the long list of participating cards here where you also can redeem your code. The promotion is valid purchases made on or after January 29th, 2016.

WhatsApp Now Absolutely Free

WhatsApp has announced that its messaging app will now be available for free, dropping its previous yearly subscription fee, and adds that it will not be introducing third-party ads in order to make up the deficit.

“[W]e’re happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees,” the blog announcement reads. “For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

The service denies that it will carry ads to compensate for the loss of subscription fees, saying instead that it will start supporting official communications between users and businesses.

“Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads,” the blog post continues. “The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you wantto hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”

While the blog post does not state so, it is likely that WhatsApp will charge businesses for putting them in touch with its users, thereby retaining its revenue stream.

Consortium is Now Free on Steam For a Limited Time!

Valve often works with developers to offer free weekends on a variety of games and give users an insight into obscure experiences they might have easily overlooked. Sometimes, the studio will even allow you to retain the game after the promotion has ended. Consortium is the latest title to provide this service and can be added to your Steam library if you click the install button before the end of today. Consortium takes place onboard a futuristic aircraft and features an absolutely stunning soundtrack. During the plot, you take on the role of Consortium Bishop Six, a global peacekeeper in the year 2042, and have the freedom to change how events unfold.

The game has an overwhelmingly positive reception and excellent reviews from a wide selection of press outlets. Additionally, it adopts a really unique art style and has a captivating story. This means it’s certainly worth a look especially when there’s zero cost involved. Consortium is also seeking funds to develop a sequel which you might want to back after playing the original. Here is a rundown in the developer’s own words about the game’s unique premise:

  • The first of a planned trilogy, Consortium contains a fully resolvable arc entirely aboard Zenlil, but links to further games by a much larger story and its countless mysteries. Each subsequent title will act in this way, with both an internal story and a serialization that continues to build the alternate universe.

  • Immerse yourself in an interactive story taking place entirely aboard the C-3800-D “ZENLIL” Consortium Command vessel on December 21st, 2042…

  • Built with a modified version of the SOURCE engine, explore ZENLIL, a living and highly interactive environment with complete freedom and agency. Includes turbulence and non-scripted decompression events!

  • Engage with a cast of over 20 people in innovative and life like conversation. Over 4,000 lines of fully voiced dialogue, each choice changes how they think about you. Or choose not to engage with them at all and never speak a word!

  • Experience an all original orchestral score by award winning composer Jeremy Soule

  • Act as detective investigating an on-board murder, while simultaneously playing peacemaker to a large band of mercenaries who seem to want YOU dead. Or play diplomacy with a smoking barrel, and let the tragedies continue to mount.

  • Dive into a world with well over 150,000 words of back-story and lore, where everything you read, see, speak, or hear relates to the story and characters, and everything is there for a reason.

  • A highly original energy based inventory system with original sci-fi weapons, gadgets and armor.

  • The story unfolds based largely on your actions. You may use diplomacy and talk your way through the entire game – never shooting anyone! OR, decide to use deadly or non-lethal force.

  • Forge lasting relationships with the crew of ZENLIL, and alter the course of the story through your actions. Your choices will change your play experience, and subsequent playthroughs offer the chance to make different decisions and see all new outcomes.

  • Regardless of what you choose to do or not, the experience always moves forward, adapting seamlessly to YOU.

Amazon US Offers Prime Users Cheaper Games

You remember that feeling when you’ve really wanted a game and the best place to buy it is online? Releases in a few days and you want to make sure you have it ready for when you get in, ready to stare and watch as it starts up and the world disappears. Now remember that $99 Amazon asked you for that next day delivery through Prime? Seems like the two could now be one and the same, with Amazon Prime offering discounts on all new releases and pre-orders of video games.

Amazon’s site now reveals that when you are a prime member you will receive (if its Amazon shipping the game) 20% off. Have you been burned by recent pre-orders not living up to expectations? For those burned by games like Colonial Marines fear not, the discount not only counts towards pre-orders but also for the first two weeks after its release.

Not only does the offer extend to those who have already pre-ordered games via Prime but it will also include Collectors editions of games. I’m sorry to say that product bundles, such as consoles and games releasing at the same time, will not be included in the deal.

Saving 20% may not seem like much, but if you purchase several games over the year the savings quickly stack. Sadly the offer seems to be limited to Amazon.com for now, so hopefully other Amazon sites will quickly follow suit. Check out the terms and conditions and FAQ’s before buying all those games you’ve been putting off pre-ordering.

Raspberry Pi Foundation Asked to Install Malware

Earlier this week the Rpi foundation were approached by a lady called Linda. Linda asked the team if they would ever so kindly distribute an exe file alongside their Linux operating system, Raspian. The e-mail they were sent asks if the foundation would perform the miracle of running an exe on a Linux operating system in return for a sum of money based on a Price Per Installation scheme (PPI).

It’s amazingly surprising the sheer cheek that this company has, as they’re asking one of the world’s most know organizations to cheat its customers. Why on earth would this company think they would go along with it? I don’t know. However, I can safely say that the foundation has not accepted this fantastic offer. The Raspberry Pi foundation is now a huge corporation with over 5 million Pi boards having been sold since the release of the original Pi. The use of an open source operating system has also done them wonders. There are thousands upon thousands of scripts and programs for the Pi available to the public.

Pi Facts: The name “Raspberry” originates from the fruit-based naming tradition for microcomputers in old days. “Pi” refers to “Python” because Python was one of the first programs ported to run on Raspberry Pi. Hence the rather unusual name.

Image sourced from Adafruit

Microsoft Will Grandfather OneDrive 15GB Free Storage Users

Just a little over a month ago, Microsoft announced some wide sweeping and controversial changes for their OneDrive cloud storage platform. Due to apparent customer abuse, the unlimited storage option as was going away and a new pricing tier system introduced. Free users also saw their capacity cut down from 15GB + 15GB to 5GB. The complaint though was that current users were going to see their plans change without being grandfathered in. This changes today at least for the free users.

From now till the end of January 2016, current OneDrive users can sign up here in order to keep their 15GB of free storage and 15GB of Camera Roll bonus if they have that as well. Customers will also be able to get Office 365 Personal free for one year along with the 1TB of storage that comes with that.

If Microsoft had done this in the first place, there likely wouldn’t have been the uproar or backlash that occurred. It ended up taking over 70,000 votes on the OneDrive feedback site to get Microsoft to change their tune. Ironically, paying users will still lose their unlimited storage and some of their plan options.

In the end, this is part of the transition that Microsoft is doing to try to make OneDrive more profitable and more of a way to glue together their Windows ecosystem rather than as pure cloud storage. By offering some free storage that most users likely won’t use, Microsoft may get back some of the free will they’ve lost with their initial debacle. You can find Microsoft’s full statement here.

Dying Light Enhanced Edition Will be a Free Upgrade Barring The Expansion

Dying Light is a tense, zombie survival game created by Techland and features a surprisingly enticing storyline. Furthermore, the day and night cycle produces such a dramatic contrast and emphasizes the dangers of a zombie apocalypse in complete darkness. On another note, the game’s magnificent first-person perspective and ability to ascend buildings heightens the adrenaline levels as you attempt to fend off hordes of zombies. In my opinion, it’s Techland’s greatest achievement so far and worthy of your time. Even better, the studio plans to release a massive update next year with a whole host of improvements. Here is a list of the enhancements in full:

  • Nightmare difficulty setting
  • Legend system
  • Bounties system
  • New Parkour moves
  • New enemy attacks and behaviours
  • Enhanced facial expressions
  • New NPC models
  • Improved human enemy AI
  • Improved volatile AI
  • Greater firearm variety
  • HUD and video filter customisations
  • Audio upgrades
  • Gameplay quality improvements
  • Console performance upgrades
  • Overall game look and feel improvements
  • #DrinkForDLC Content

Originally, it seemed like this would be only available to season pass holders or require some kind of payment. However, Techland clarified on Twitter that the update would be free to all owners of the game:

This follows a similar pattern to the enhanced edition upgrade in The Witcher 3. Please note, the upgrade does not include any expansion packs, so there is still a legitimate reason to purchase the season pass.

EA Cancels Jade Empire: Special Edition Free Promotion Due to Technical Problems

PC gamers overwhelmingly prefer the Steam digital distribution client due to cloud saves, achievements, trading cards and the ability to store a huge library in one client. Unfortunately, EA decided to make their latest titles exclusive to Origin in a similar vein to Ubisoft’s Uplay. Although, Origin has improved in the past year or so and offers excellent customer support. Additionally, EA’s Great Game Guarantee provided refunds long before Steam implemented a similar system.

On another note, EA periodically gives away a number of iconic titles including Command & Conquer and Populus. The latest addition to this promotion is Jade Empire:Special Edition. This is one of Bioware’s most inventive creations and features a wonderful story. While it’s a pretty old title, this doesn’t detract from the superb experience and is well worth a look. Please remember the deal is only available for a limited time so there’s no time to waste! As you might expect, the game’s age means it should work fairly well on any modern computer, but we’ve included the minimum requirements just in case:

Minimum System Requirements

OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
Processor:1.8 GHz processor or higher
Memory: 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
Hard Drive: 8 GB HDD
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
Graphics card (NVIDIA): 256 MB VRAM or higher (ATI X600/GeForce 6800+ or better)
•Keyboard, mouse

What is your favorite Bioware game of all time?

UPDATE:

It seems a large number of customers encountered problems accessing the store and redeeming the free game:

EA has now reinstated the standard pricing and it’s unknown if this is a temporary or permanent measure.

Intel Unveils Three Free Game Promotion on Select Core i7 CPUs

Intel’s flagship mainstream and enthusiast processors incur a hefty price increase compared to their i5 counterparts. Despite this, the lack of competition in the elite CPU tier, means Intel can charge extremely high prices and still manage to shift a large number of units. This is illustrated rather well by the current Skylake pricing scheme. For example, in the UK, an i7-6700K varies dramatically in price between £270-£360. Arguably, this is due to supply issues, but I haven’t seen any substantial reductions as of yet.

As you might expect, Skylake is designed to replace many of the older CPU architectures and Intel has launched an intriguing promotion on select models. When you purchase any qualifying product, Intel will provide a ‘Master Key’ which grants access to the Intel Enthusiast Game Voucher. The voucher contains the following three free games which apparently equates to $124.98:

  • Counter Strike: GO ($14.99 Value)
  • Just Cause 3 ($59.99 Value)
  • World of Warships ($50 Value)

According to early listings from Newegg, it appears the promotion only applies to the following CPUs:

This is subject to change, but the key omissions are the i7-4770K and i7-4790K. This is bizarre considering these two chips have been the primary choice for the enthusiast market. However, perhaps Intel feels there’s no need to incentive sales on the i7-4770K and i7-4790K. This exercise appears to be designed to shift old stock, and transfer people to Intel’s latest products.

The promotion is valid until the 15th February 2016 from participating retailers.

Amazon Prime Now Offers Same Day Delivery in Parts of UK

Amazons never been strangers to upgrading their services,  from the idea of delivering with drones, opening their own bookstore, offering offline video playback and even suing people who leave fake reviews about products. It should be no surprise then that Amazon prime users are to get yet another added bonus to their services with their new scheme Prime Same Day.

At the moment at the cost of £79 a  year you can get Amazon prime, giving you access to free next day delivery on a range of their products and their Amazon Prime Music and Video services, giving you access to a wide range of music and video streaming facilities at no extra cost. If that wasn’t enough the new scheme will see you getting the ability to place orders for delivery the same day.

There are a few restrictions on the deal’s though, currently only those within the M25 are eligible at the start of the scheme, and while there are no limitations on the value of the items ordered, there will be a set collection of items available. Don’t worry though, as the collection is set to range around a million items, with orders placed before noon delivered between 6 and 10 that evening.

If that wasn’t enough, Prime members ordering to London or Birmingham can have it delivered within the hour for £6.99 or for free within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight the same day.

Costing nothing extra and giving their users more choices and speedier returns on their purchases can only be a good thing for the customer and if it works, Amazon will soon see deliveries being placed every hour of the day ready for that adventure the next day.

Activision Buys Creator Of Candy Crush

On the train, in the car and even at work, people enjoy games on their mobile phones. From the days of the first game boy, the idea behind mobile gaming devices was always to let you play what you wanted, where you wanted and with mobiles phones becoming as powerful as they are, the ability to change your little communications device into a gaming hub is as easy as ever. One of the biggest names in the mobile video games group is Candy Crush Saga and its creator just got a new owner, Activision.

On Monday, Activision Blizzard announced that it had agreed to acquire the rights for King Digital Entertainment, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, for a staggering total of $5.9 billion.

Popular on platforms such as Facebook, Candy crush follows a business model called freemium. You can play the game for free, and you could even complete it for free but if you wanted those little extra bonuses, the boosters or the level skips then it will cost you real world money.

With King stating that it has over 158 million daily users and over 1 billion games played each day it’s not hard to see why this acquisition by Activision Blizzard could see the company getting a rather large foot in the door of mobile gaming.

Warner Brothers Offer Entire Batman Collection to Arkham Knight Early Adopters

Batman: Arkham Knight was released in a shambolic state on PC and riddled with bugs, poor optimization and widespread instability issues. This resulted in many consumers using the Steam Refund policy and voicing their disgust at Warner Brothers’ technical blunders. Eventually, the game was removed from sale to allow the developer to properly fix these unacceptable flaws.

Finally, Batman: Arkham Knight has been re-released on Steam and Warner Brothers decided to offer compensation to early adopters. Instead of handing out a season pass which most people expected, Warner Brothers is providing free copies of the previous Arkham titles. Some critics have argued this isn’t a good move as those games have been heavily discounted and most Batman fans already own them. Although, at least it’s something.

Here is the official statement in full:

“Greetings Batman: Arkham Fans!

The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight is back up and available today! We are genuinely thankful to the Batman: Arkham fans, the Steam Batman: Arkham Community, and the PC Players who have patiently waited for this day. As a show of our appreciation to our fans in this process, we are pleased to announce three community focused programs to help us commemorate the re-launch of the game.

To kick things off, we will be giving away FREE digital copies of games from the Batman: Arkham library. This means we will be giving away copies of Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY, Batman: Arkham City GOTY, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. The Batman: Arkham library of games will be given to everyone who has already purchased or will purchase Batman: Arkham Knight for PC prior to 11:59 pm PDT, November 16, 2015. We’re actively working with our partners at Valve to make this happen as soon as we can, so watch your Steam Library. We are aiming to deliver all of the games by December.

Seeing as our community was a great help in getting the game up and running, Rocksteady will be creating a new “Community Challenge Pack” that will be given free to owners of the Batman: Arkham Knight game in January 2016. As thanks to the Steam Community, PC players will have access to the maps for a week before they hit the consoles. Stay tuned for more details on this in the Batman: Arkham Community and Social Channels.

Finally, we are thrilled to announce that we are working with Valve and the Team Fortress 2 team for a special cross-game promotion. Through November 16, 2015, Valve will be running a contest for the Steam community to create Batman: Arkham themed cosmetic items for Team Fortress 2. The winning items will be given out to those who purchased Batman: Arkham Knight on Steam before the end of the contest. You can check out the official TF2 blog[www.teamfortress.com] for all the contest details!

To recap, if you own Batman: Arkham Knight for PC or purchase it before November 16, 2015, you will get:
Free digital copies of games from the Batman: Arkham library.
The “Community Challenge Pack” DLC.
The Batman: Arkham inspired Team Fortress 2 items created by the Batman: Arkham community.

Thanks again for your feedback and support.

– Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment”

Is Batman: Arkham Knight running well on your setup?

The Best Free 4K Content to Show Off Your New TV or Monitor

4K monitors and TVs are quickly growing in popularity, but I’m often asked “where can I find 4K content?” and that’s something I hope to help you with today. Sure there’s some movies online, such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, where you can stream 4K content straight to your device, permitting you have the appropriate subscriptions, but what if you’re seeking some completely free content to enjoy? Here’s a quick round-up of some of the best free 4K resources you’ll find online.


Tears of Steel

This is one of the best out there, a short movie about robotics and the future that uses Blender for the CGI. The acting is a little silly, but it’s certainly an enjoyable watch and it’s a visual feast that’ll really flex your new 4K display and wow your friends with rich colours and detail. Download the full 6.3GB file for free for the best experience.

Download here


Big Buck Bunny

Another project that is available for free on Blender really pushes the limits of home cinema technology and computer displays, not only because it’s 4K, but you can also download it in 4K 3D and a 60fps HFR version, which really is a treat for the eyes and showcases some of the best of the best technologies, the same kind you can expect to see on Ultra HD Blu-Ray, which launches next year.

Download here


NASA

While not a movie as such, NASA has a simply mind-blowing array of 4K content and they update their library regularly. Now that the space station has its own 4K camera, as well as a library of space exploration content that has been given the 4K treatment, science and space fans will find a lot of wonderful things to view here, such as the recently released Jupiter video. To make it super easy, all of this content is ready to view in 4K on YouTube.

Check out NASA TV Videos here


Panasonic 4K

Another YouTube entry, with Panasonic showcasing all of their show-reel content on their channel. This isn’t the most exciting stuff, but when it comes to showing off the detail that 4K can do, time-lapse videos can be almost hypnotic and they’re well worth checking out if you’re eager to see the differences between HD and 4K (change the resolution on YouTube.

Check out the Panasonic YouTube channel here.


Reddit

Reddit is a huge community, offering all kinds of subreddits full of user-curated content and 4K is no exception. There’s a huge range of images, gifs, videos, downloads and much more on the 4kUltraHD subreddit and it’s regularly updated. Be sure to check out the Top section for the most popular and the New section for regular content.

Check out 4kUltraHD Subreddit here.


Vimeo

Vimeo is great for finding user-created 4K videos, from people showing off their stunning drone footage, to amateur and pro movie makers showing off their latest talents, there are all kinds of cool things to find here. Some of the videos require a premium subscription, but there’s still a lot of free content to enjoy in 4K.

Check out Vimeo here