Free games

  • Epic Games

    • Layers of Fear Masterpiece Edition

      • 2016
      • A psychological horror game where you control a disturbed painter trying to complete his magnum opus as he navigates through a victorian mansion, with disturbing secrets about the painter being discovered
    • Qube 2

      • 2018
      • Sequel to the original Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion, and a physics-based puzzle game, interacting with specific blocks in the world to solve puzzles and make it to the end of each level

Ajit Pai, chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission and owner of one of the most punchable faces in the world, seems to be making a case for the very same net neutrality regulations that he himself repealed

  • In an attempt to preempt state laws on net neutrality, Pai stated that each state having their own regulations could discourage companies or entrepreneurs from dealing with multiple layers of permissions and regulations as opposed to a uniform, well-established set of consistent regulations
  • What he didn’t mention is that the US had a uniform, well-established set of regulations before he eliminated those rules from the Obama admin and deregulated the broadband industry
  • On the plus side the US Court of Appeals ruled that Pai and the FCC lost the power to stop state laws when they deregulated it in the first place
  • So at this point things are at a stalemate- Pai seems to want to give more power to his corporate overlords, but in doing so he gave the power to the individual states that are actually interested in keeping the internet an open, neutral resource

Gamers excited for Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service launch this November 19th might be left out in the cold, even if they’ve pre-ordered

  • Initially Google said that the only way to play on day one would be to shell out $130 USD for a Founder’s Edition console, and while that’s kind of true it turns out that isn’t the whole story
  • Now that it’s sold out they’re now selling a new Premiere Edition, and it looks like neither package now guarantees the ability to play first thing on release day
  • Google now says that Founder’s Editions will only start arriving on the 19th, so if you were one of the first to pre-order yours may arrive but otherwise they’re all shipping first come, first served
    • Both the Founder’s and Premiere Editions are officially expected to be delivered within the first two weeks of launch, so unless you were quick on the draw it might be a lot closer to the end of the month before you’re up and running

The new Google Pixel 4 phone is taking heat this week for their facial authentication system unlocking even if the user’s eyes are closed or pointed elsewhere

  • Early leaks showed a “require eyes to be open” setting for face unlock, similar to Apple’s “Attention Aware” feature, but the released version can be unlocked by anyone that can hold the phone up to your sleeping face
  • In a statement to the BBC, Google said it would “continue to improve Face Unlock over time”, though the fix could be months away

We finally have conclusive evidence that the new Dark Mode on iPhones with OLED displays saves a decent amount of battery life

  • Tests run by YouTube channel PhoneBuff, using robotic arms to interact with two iPhone XS Maxes, had the device using light mode dying when the dark mode iPhone had 30% battery still remaining
  • This only applies to OLED phones, meaning the X, XS, and 11 Pro phones, and can depend on your brightness settings, but it’s still a measurable benefit
    • OLED phones actually completely turn off any pixels that are showing solid black, while LCD displays are uniformly lit and still send power to every pixel regardless of what’s being shown
  • This also works as a proof-of-concept for saving battery on OLED Android phones, though that would need another batch of testing to confirm

HARP 3D printer is one step closer to getting the Replicator

  • Researchers at Northwestern University have overcome issues around overheating
    • They have developed HARP, a 3D printer claimed to produce an object the size of an adult human in two hours.
  • Northwestern’s Chad Mirkin, who led the product’s development saidA limitation of resin-based 3D printers is that they generate a lot of heat when running at fast speeds, leading to dangerously hot surface temperatures and potential cracks and deformations in printed parts.
    • 3D printing is conceptually powerful but has been limited practically
    • If we could print fast without limitations on materials and size, we could revolutionise manufacturing. HARP is poised to do that.”
  • Mirkin predicts HARP, will be available commercially in the next 18 months
  • How does it print this fast?
    • HARP prints vertically and uses projected ultraviolet light to cure the liquid resins into hardened plastic
    • This process can print pieces that are hard, elastic or ceramic
    • These continually printed parts are said to be mechanically robust and can be used in a wide range of products that include cars and aircraft.
  • This is similar to the Form Labs 3D printer I looked into when I thought I was going to buy a 3D printer
    • The benefit versus other types of printing
      • You can make translucent objects
      • And you can achieve higher detail
  • However, a limitation of resin-based 3D printers is that they generate a lot of heat when running at fast speeds
    • which leads to dangerously hot surface temperatures and potential cracks and deformations in printed parts
    • “When these printers run at high speeds, a great deal of heat is generated from the polymerisation of the resin,” Walker said in a statement. “They have no way to dissipate it.”
  • HARP bypasses this problem with a non-stick liquid that behaves like liquid Teflon
    • It projects light through a window to solidify resin on top of a vertically moving plate
    • The liquid Teflon flows over the window to remove heat and then circulates it through a cooling unit.
  • “The interface is also non-stick, which keeps the resin from adhering to the printer itself,” Hedrick added.
    • “This increases the printer’s speed by a hundredfold because the parts do not have to be repeatedly cleaved from the bottom of the print-vat.”
  • Although 3D printing is transitioning from prototyping to manufacturing,
    • Current 3D printers’ size and speed have limited them to small-batch production
    • HARP is claimed to be the first printer that can handle large batches and large parts in addition to small parts.
  • “When you can print fast and large, it can really change the way we think about manufacturing,” Mirkin said.
    • “With HARP, you can build anything you want without moulds and without a warehouse full of parts. You can print anything you can imagine on-demand.”
    • While other print technologies have slowed down or reduced their resolution in order to print large parts, HARP does not make such concessions.
  • “Obviously there are many types of 3D printers out there – you see printers making buildings, bridges and car bodies, and conversely you see printers that can make small parts at very high resolutions,” Walker said.
    • “We’re excited because this is the largest and highest throughput printer in its class.”
  • HARP uses high-resolution light-patterning to achieve ready-to-use parts without extensive post-processing
    • The result, the university claims, is a commercially viable route to the manufacturing of consumer goods.

Fallout 76 Subscription?

  • Fallout 1st is a $100-a-year subscription-based service
    • Gives its members access to several benefits not available to others
      • Play on a private world with only your friends
      • unlimited storage space in the Scrapbox
      • a Survival Tent for fast traveling
      • Monthly Atoms, an exclusive outfit
      • Extra icons and emotes
      • And special sales not available to other players will also appear periodically.
  • This gives players what they have been asking for
    • But at a cost $12.99 a month, its $3 more than XBox Game Pass
      • And Gamepass has Fallout New Vegas, which seems to be most fans favorite
      • And it has Outerwords, a new open world game with far more options than Fallout 76
    • This is a bad sign from Bethesda
      • It shows that they are hearing what players want
      • But are out of touch, or too greedy to implement them fairly

Tidbits

  • Good news for anyone jumping on the 5G bandwagon- Verizon has managed to deploy coverage to certain seating areas in three different NBA arenas!
    • The coverage is far from complete, and there’s no word on the speeds being offered, but if you’re one of the people that Verizon has convinced to pay extra money then you might potentially see a benefit in parts of those arenas
  • Facebook may be forced to pay up to $35B in a class action lawsuit for users in Illinois, arguing that Facebook’s collection of users’ faces for tagging purposes violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act
    • The law requires that businesses gather consent from state residents before their biometric data is collected or used, and involves fines up to $5,000 for each of the 7M violations
  • In some awkward timing with tensions between China and Hong Kong, and the HKMap.Live app mess, Tim Cook has been named chairman of a Chinese university’s school of economics and management
  • Lastly some good news for gamers- Activision and Infinity Ward have announced that there will be no loot box system in the upcoming Modern Warfare game, and all weapons and functional attachments will be unlocked strictly through gameplay
    • There will be a battle pass system for aesthetics, with both free and premium streams, but that will let players see the content they’re earning or buying beforehand

Alan recommends silicone stretch lids

 

Literally Misleading

Last Week:

Movie – Artist tries his best against the wishes of his grandfather and clingy aunts (Kubo and the Two Strings)

This Week:

Thanks to reddit user – MissBarker93
Movie – Man Survives thanks to his own feces

 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Dalton, for supporting us for so long.

And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Twitch

    • Yoku’s Island Express

      • 2018
      • Side-scrolling Metroidvania platformer where you can only jump by using pinball paddles to push a ball that drags your character behind, in an open world with many bumpers, tracks, and ramps for different pinball mechanics
    • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones

      • 2015
      • 2D puzzle platform stealth game that has you taking control of multiple clones to explore the facility in which you were born
    • Chicken Assassin: Reloaded

      • 2016
      • An RPG beat-em-up that plays like a clicker- you can upgrade your stats, weaponry, and equipment, then mash buttons to beat up the bad guys and get your girl back
    • Manual Samuel

      • 2016
      • 2D adventure sidescroller where you try to make it through a normal day performing all your bodily functions completely manually, a la QWOP
  • Epic

    • Conarium

      • 2017
      • Lovecraftian horror adventure game inspired by At The Mountains of Madness, that has you exploring an Antarctic base to discover the fate of your expedition through notes, journals, and and strange visions

Apple’s By Innovation Only event was this week, and here are some of the highlights:

  • Apple Arcade looks fairly solid and will only cost $5 a month with full family sharing. None of the games will include in-app purchases, and they’re all exclusive to Apple Arcade on mobile
    • The big standout for me was Sayonara Wild Hearts, a neon rhythm racing game with a ton of style, that’s also coming to Switch and PS4
  • Apple TV+ is also hitting for $5 a month, which makes competing services look pretty expensive by comparison, but the content is slowly coming together
    • Netflix and Amazon Prime are a fair bit more with a ton of back catalog, and Disney+ is only slightly more expensive with their huge vault of works
    • One interesting note though, every Apple device sold from now on will come with a free year of Apple TV+. Whether that means only the first time or every single purchase remains to be seen
  • There’s a new entry-level iPad model that works as an updated alternative to the fancy iPad Pro
  • The Apple Watch Series 5 will officially have an always-on display, with the screen staying dim until you raise it, and apparently the exact same battery life as current models
    • They’re also bringing in more case materials like ceramic and titanium
    • And the Series 3 seems to be the new budget model, with the Series 4 being completely replaced
  • And, of course, the iPhone
    • We’ve got three new iPhones:
      • iPhone 11, which is the updated iPhone XR, has the same liquid retina display with a ton of new guts to make it even faster than before
        • They’ve also tweaked the dual camera system on the back to use a standard and ultra-wide angle lens, instead of the old telephoto, so they can use their computational photography to work with even more information
          • It also allows them to finally have a Night Mode, which Google’s been rocking for about a year now
          • The new camera system does come with a gigantic square camera bump, which leaves many wondering why not make the whole device the same thickness and add more battery life (though they did manage to add an additional hour, which is nothing to sneeze at)
      • Then the iPhone 11 Pro, the new OLED model replacing the XS, with a very fancy super duper crazy bright and accurate fancy display ™
        • It also comes in a new color, midnight green, that feels Boba Fett-esque. Pretty slick
        • For the most part it’s got the same new fancy guts as the iPhone 11, but in addition it’s got a third lens to keep the telephoto in play with the other two.
          • Apparently it will use a feature called Deep Fusion to fuse 9 separate exposures with the combined lenses into a single image
        • It’s also got slightly faster cellular data, which is kind of whatever at this point. It gets to a point where the speed gains become less and less noticeable
        • Unfortunately this model is also killing my baby- 3D touch is dead, replaced by haptic touch
          • 3D touch was brilliant, where you could press slightly harder on the screen to do things like get shortcuts or move your cursor around with your thumb on the keyboard, but required an extra suite of sensors under the display
          • Instead all the Pro models have the same Haptic touch brought to us originally in the XR because the display just didn’t work with the tech- you just do a long press, and the haptics give you a light tap on the thumb. So it’s a glorified long press, which we’ve had pretty much the whole time anyway
        • All this comes alongside 4-5 more hours of battery life for the base and Max models, respectively, which is bonkers year-over-year improvement while adding more tech
      • This year’s iPhones also bring a new chip for ultra wideband technology, leading many to think that their Tile competitor is coming soon since that would allow for much more accurate location tracking of devices
        • One demo found inside the new iOS files has the ability to look around your room for a red balloon, then follow the string to the missing device
 

Awesome looking game that’s got about a month left on Kickstarter, called Savior.

Story
Savior is an open-world, action-adventure platformer, centered on rebuilding the divided planet of Arcadia. You’ll be empowered to save the people you discover from problems like hunger, superstition, tyranny and destruction. As you help the Arcadians regain their lives and thrive, you’ll earn experience, abilities, powerful tools and allies to aid you in your quest.
You play as Sam, a stranger with no possessions or memory.  As you explore, you’ll learn of your origin and place among the characters you encounter. Battle, evade and persuade your enemies to join you in rebuilding a broken world.
Combat
We wanted combat to feel as real and engaging as possible. To that end, every block, dodge and strike is clean and reactive. NPCs have attack patterns that you’ll learn over time, so fights are quick as you come to anticipate your opponent’s reactions.
  • Strike 6-Directions – Strike up, high (standing), low (crouched), down (when airborne), or behind you high and low. Hit targets all around you with ease.
  • Block – Auto-block most attacks with one button. Blocks will cost you ground and stamina. If you block exactly on the strike timing, you’ll instantly counter-attack.
  • Dodge – By crouching before a high strike or jumping just before a low strike you’ll open up a window of vulnerability in your opponent. Strike fast for a guaranteed hit!
  • Be Unconventional – When encountering an aggressor, you’ll have options. Douse them with water, intimidate them with staff spins or impress them with epic dance moves!
Parkour
Savior is an open-world game where you’re free to cover the same ground multiple times. So we’ve made simple travel as fun as possible. We’ve added a flurry of movement enhancements to make running and jumping more thrilling and varied.
  • Context-Sensitive Jumps – Jumps to walls, ledges, high targets, low targets, water, off cliffs etc. will get their own animations that flow together.
  • Wall Jump – Special gear will let you cling to walls and climb ravines like a spider monkey that sweats crazy glue.
  • Slide/Roll – Explore every crevice of Arcadia by learning to get small and round. Push down at a run and you’ll slide through your opponents legs!
  • Dash/Double Jump – Add a second boost to your jump or your run. Blast up or forward to reach new areas, just get around faster, or knock over foes.
Diplomacy
You can win opponents to your cause with your words and actions. They’ll remember encounters and build a positive or negative relationship with you. Over time you can convince them to abandon hostility and help you rebuild Arcadia.
  • Complete Quests –  Quest to gain favor, secrets, and powerful items. Plus you’ll change your surroundings in lasting ways that will make your way forward easier.
  • Choose Your Style – Talk people into joining your cause. Fight them until they relent. Or make their favorite meal or douse them in water. Get creative!
  • Debate – Part of your arsenal will be solid arguments. Only some will respond to a good argument right away, but you can plant seeds of doubt that grow over time.
  • Build Reputation – As you become known, NPCs will treat you differently. Get discounts at shops, help with quests and access to secret areas and equipment.
  You can back the project until October 10th, 2019. Then as Kickstarter does, they get the funds to work on it, or pledges are not taken.
  • They will release on Steam, but they have added Xbox One, PS4 and Switch as stretch goals. My speculation, is that those goals are to pay for the license for those platforms.

Tidbits

  • Facebook’s released their new dating service in the US, and as usual it had a ton of security and personal information pitfalls
    • If you really want to check it out, Lifehacker has a great breakdown of what information is visible to whom
  • Apparently the Galaxy Fold, that $2000 terrible phone tablet thing, is rolling out slowly around the world this month after an announcement on the 5th
    • Unfortunately it looks like Samsung is cancelling everyone’s preorders dating all the way back to April
    • They’re saying they’re revamping the entire purchase experience, along with the slow rollout, so everyone that did preorder gets $250 in store credit
  • Ironically, after Google went on about needing tracking cookies to prevent users being fingerprinted by things like fonts (we discussed in 269), Google-owned app Crashlytics has started installing fonts with a custom identifier embedded that any app can use to identify users
  • New legislation is coming to California forcing independent contractors in gig-worker roles to be treated as employees, and Uber is trying to say it doesn’t apply because drivers aren’t a core part of their business, which seems like a bold choice

Alan Recommends Philips Sonicare

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Karen, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!
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A Facebook Page exists as well.

Overview

Multiplayer online battle arenas, as we know them, are all thanks to Defense of The Ancients. The term multiplayer online battle arena, is also known as action real-time strategy, as it is a subgenre of real-time strategy games. For the most part, the gameplay is much like a RTS, an isometric view of the battlefield where the player controls their movement with mouse clicks, and abilities with keyboard. Generally, the goal is to assist AI controlled units, that spawn from your base, all the way to the enemy base to destroy it. During the fight, the player will level up, gaining and upgrading abilities. Most also have am item system, that allows the player to fine tune their strengths to their liking. The maps in a MOBA generally consist of 3 components: lanes, that the AI units march down to the enemy base; jungle, which has AI opponents that are neutral and can be killed for XP or other bonuses; and the bases, which have some extra fortification, the area where the AI units spawn and a core which is the goal to destroy.
 
This game is an interesting example of game design, as it started as a modification Warcraft 3, the DotA mod, came out in 2003, the roots of MOBA’s go back to 1989. One of the earliest real-time strategy games on the Sega Genesis Herzog Zwei, has many elements of modern MOBA’s. And as of recording, Herzog Zewi’s, North American release is 29 years ago.
 
 

Herzog Zwei

In Herzog Zwei, the player directly pilots a flying, transforming mech (similar to the variable fighter depicted in Macross), a multi-role vehicle suited for utility and combat. Through the mech, the player purchases surface combat units, airlifts them across the battlefield, and issues them orders. These command activities can only be performed through the mech. Vehicles follow their assigned orders (patrol, garrison, capture base) until they either run out of fuel or are destroyed. Tactical re-deployment (mission reassignment, vehicle repair) involves a great deal of micromanagement, due to the required involvement of the mech.
 
Herzog Zwei was not a huge commercial success, due to its lack of marketing, relatively early release on the Genesis platform, and non-arcade genre on what was considered an arcade game console. Upon its 1990 release in North America, Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a rating of 4.25 out of 10.
 
The producers of Dune II acknowledge Herzog Zwei as an influence, as do the producers of Warcraft (1994), Command & Conquer (1995), Starcraft (1998), War of the Rings (2003), and Brütal Legend (2009). Herzog Zwei is known as action RTS, and also considered a predecessor to the MOBA subgenre, though a key difference is that Herzog Zwei has a fully customizable command unit with role-playing video game elements that the player has full control over, while commanding an army to go into battle with rather than mindless drones that respawn at set intervals.
 
 

Future Cop: LAPD

In 1998, Future Cop: LAPD featured a strategic Precinct Assault mode similar to Herzog Zwei, in which the players could actively fight alongside generated non-player units. Future Cop was originally developed as an installment of the Strike series, which without diverting on a tangent, are some games I hold dear from my gaming childhood. Mainly Desert Strike, Jungle Strike and Urban Strike for Sega Genesis.
 
In the game, players assume the role of a pilot for the X1-Alpha, a robot designed to fight in the “Crime War” in Los Angeles in the year 2098. The X1-Alpha is a police vehicle that can transform between a fast, hovering pursuit vehicle, and a slower, full-fledged combat mecha.
 
With 2 modes of play: Crime War Mode, was essentially a story mode, following a day in the life of an LAPD X1-Alpha pilot; and theres Precinct Assault Mode which is cited as an early MOBA game. Precinct Assault is an arena battle mode in which each player starts with a single base and can capture automated Turrets or Outposts across the map. The objective is to defeat your opponent by purchasing and deploying Hovertanks to invade their main base. As the Playstation release, had this MOBA format, it is the PC version that allowed for online competitive play, technically making Future Cop: LAPD the first MOBA game ever released.
 
It was not an amazing selling game, but the Precinct Assault Mode did get some recognition. GameSpot gave the game a 7 out of 10, while saying “Future Cop is a good game. Returning to the beginning of the level after dying really hampers the main game, but the other mode is really outstanding. Definitely worth checking out.”
 
 

Aeon of Strife

Also in 1998, Blizzard Entertainment released its best-selling real-time strategy (RTS) StarCraft, with a suite of game editing tools called StarEdit. Back on PS2J 123, I did the history of Blizzard games, and most everything else is covered there, if this piques your interest. The tools allowed members of the public to design and create custom maps that allowed play that was different from the normal maps. A modder known as Aeon64 made a custom map named Aeon of Strife that became popular. Aeon64 stated that he was attempting to create gameplay similar to that of Future Cop: LAPD’s Precinct Assault mode. In the Aeon of Strife map, players controlled a single powerful hero unit fighting amidst three lanes, though terrain outside these lanes was nearly vacant.
 
 

Defense of the Ancients

In 2002, Blizzard released Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, with the accompanying Warcraft III World Editor. Both the MOBA and tower defense subgenres took substantive shape within the Warcraft 3 modding community.
 
The first version of Defense of the Ancients was released in 2002 by Kyle Sommer who goes by the alias Eul. The map is based on the StarCraft scenario “Aeon of Strife”. After the release of Warcraft’s expansion The Frozen Throne, which added new features to the World Editor, Eul did not update the scenario. Other mapmakers produced spinoffs that added new heroes, items, and features. Among the DotA variants created in the wake of Eul’s map, there was DotA Allstars, originally created and developed by custom map makers Meian and Ragn0r, who took the most popular heroes and compiled them into one map. In March 2004, map makerSteve Feak, known as Guinsoo, took control of development and began the 3.xx to 5.xx series of DotA Allstars. February, 2005, Guinsoo announced that he would stop creating custom maps for Warcraft III, leaving the development of DotA to Neichus and IceFrog, with the former also leaving shortly after. This started the 6.xx series which was led by IceFrog.
 
Defense of the Ancients is maintained through official forums. Users can post ideas for new heroes or items, some of which are added to the map. Players have contributed icons and hero descriptions and created the artwork displayed while the map loads, and suggestions for changes to existing heroes or items are taken seriously; IceFrog once changed a new hero less than two weeks after the new version of the map was released. Versions of the scenario where enemy heroes are controlled by artificial intelligences have also been released. Mescon continued to maintain dota-allstars.com, which by the end of IceFrog’s affiliation in May 2009 had over 1.5 million registered users and had received over one million unique visitors every month. Due to their separation, IceFrog announced that he would be further developing a new official site, playdota.com, while continuing game development; Mescon closed dota-allstars on July 22, 2010, citing dropping statistics and his new passion for League of Legends as the reason for its end.
 
As the popularity of Defense of the Ancients increased over time. The scenario was featured by Computer Gaming World in a review of new maps and mods in Warcraft III. DotA Allstars became an important tournament scenario, starting with its prominence at the debut of BlizzCon in 2005. DotA Allstars was also featured in the Malaysia and Singapore World Cyber Games starting in 2005, and the World Cyber Games Asian Championships beginning with the 2006 season. Defense of the Ancients was included in the game lineup for the internationally recognized Cyberathlete Amateur League and CyberEvolution leagues. Oliver Paradis,Electronic Sports World Cup’s competition manager, noted that the high level of community support behind the scenario, as well as its worldwide appeal, were among the reasons it was chosen to be included in the Electronic Sports World Cup 2008.
 
The scenario is popular in many parts of the world; in the Philippines and Thailand, it is played as much as the game Counter-Strike. It is also popular in Sweden and other Northern European countries, where the Defense of the Ancients-inspired song “Vi sitter i Ventrilo och spelar DotA” (Vi sitter e Ventrilo och spee-a-lar DotA) by Swedish musician Basshunter cracked the top ten Singles Charts in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. LAN tournaments are also a major part of worldwide play, including tournaments in Sweden and Russia; however, due to a lack of LAN tournaments and championships in North America, several teams disbanded. Blizzard points to DotA as an example of what dedicated mapmakers can create using developer’s tools.
 
In June 2008, Michael Walbridge, writing for Gamasutra, stated that DotA “is likely the most popular and most-discussed free, non-supported game mod in the world”. In pointing to the strong community built around the game, Walbridge stated that DotA shows it is much easier for a community game to be maintained by the community, and this is one of the maps’ greatest strengths. Former game journalist Luke Smith called DotA “the ultimate RTS”.
 
Defense of the Ancients has been credited as one of the influences for the 2009 Gas Powered Games title Demigod, with the video game publication GameSpy noting the game’s premise revolved around aspiring gods “[playing] DotA in real life”. Of what I have seen of Demigod gameplay, it looks like if the mobs in are controlled by the player, and the 3 lanes were all straightaways, with a couple lanes that cross them. Guinsoo went on to apply many of the mechanics and lessons he learned from Defense of the Ancients to the Riot Games title League of Legends. Other “DotA clones” include S2 Games’ Heroes of Newerth. Blizzard, the company that made the tools to create this phenomenon, has also developed a MOBA titled Heroes of the Storm, which features an array of heroes from Blizzard’s franchises.
 
 

Dota 2

Two games spawned out of this mod for Warcraft 3. One was an idea for a direct sequel, Valve had several veteran employees, including Team Fortress 2 designer Robin Walker and executive Erik Johnson, become fans of the mod and wanted to build a modern sequel. The company corresponded with IceFrog by email about his long-term plans for the project, and he was subsequently hired to direct a sequel. IceFrog first announced his new position through his blog in October 2009, with Dota 2 being officially announced a year later.
 
And now for the crazy legal shenanigans of the episode. Valve adopted the word “Dota”, derived from the original mod’s acronym, as the name for its newly acquired franchise. Johnson argued that the word referred to a concept, and was not an acronym. Shortly after the announcement of Dota 2, Valve filed a trademark claim to the Dota name. At Gamescom 2011, Valve president Gabe Newell explained that the trademark was needed to develop a sequel with the already-identifiable brand. Holding the Dota name to be a community asset, Feak and Mescon filed an opposing trademark for “DOTA” on behalf of DotA-Allstars, LLC (then a subsidiary of Riot Games) in August 2010. Rob Pardo, the executive vice president of Blizzard Entertainment at the time, similarly stated that the DotA name belonged to the mod’s community. Blizzard acquired DotA-Allstars, LLC from Riot Games and filed an opposition against Valve in November 2011, citing Blizzard’s ownership of both the Warcraft III World Editor and DotA-Allstars, LLC as proper claims to the franchise. The dispute was settled in May 2012, with Valve retaining commercial franchising rights to the “Dota” intellectual property, while allowing non-commercial use of the name by third-parties. In 2017, Valve’s ownership of it was again challenged, after a 2004 internet forum post from Eul was brought to light by a Chinese company known as uCool, who had released a mobile game in 2014 that used characters from the Dota universe. uCool, who was previously involved in a lawsuit with Blizzard in 2015 for similar reasons, along with another Chinese company, Lilith Games, argued that the forum post invalidated any ownership claims of the intellectual property, stating that the Dota property was an open-source, collective work that could not be copyrighted by anyone in particular. Judge Charles R. Breyer denied uCool’s motion for summary dismissal, but allowed the case to be moved forward to a jury.
 
An early goal of the Dota 2 team was the adaptation of Defense of the Ancients’s aesthetic style for the Source engine. The Radiant and Dire factions replaced the Sentinel and Scourge from the mod, respectively. Character names, abilities, items and map design from the mod were largely retained, with some changes due to trademarks owned by Blizzard. In the first Q&A session regarding Dota 2, IceFrog explained that the game would build upon the mod without making significant changes to its core. Valve contracted major contributors from the Defense of the Ancients community, including Eul and artist Kendrick Lim, to assist with the sequel. Additional contributions from sources outside of Valve were also sought regularly for Dota 2, as to continue Defense of the Ancients’s tradition of community-sourced development. One of the composers of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Jason Hayes, was hired to collaborate with Tim Larkin to write the original score for the game. Valve had Half-Life serieswriter Marc Laidlaw, science fiction author Ted Kosmatka, and Steam support employee Kris Katz write new dialog and background lore for the heroes. Notable voice actors for heroes include Nolan North, Dave Fennoy, Jon St. John, Ellen McLain, Fred Tatasciore, Merle Dandridge, Jen Taylor, and John Patrick Lowrie.
 
The Source engine itself was updated with new features to accommodate Dota 2, such as high-end cloth modeling and improved global lighting. The game features Steam integration, which provides its social component and cloud storage for personal settings. In November 2013, Valve introduced a coaching system that allows experienced players to tutor newer players with in-game tools. As with previous Valve multiplayer games, players are able to spectate live matches of Dota 2 played by others, and local area network (LAN) multiplayer support allows for local competitions. Some of these events may be spectated via the purchase of tickets from the “Dota Store”, which give players in-game access to matches. Ticket fees are apportioned in part to tournament organizers. The game also features an in-game fantasy sports system, which is modeled after traditional fantasy sports and feature professional Dota 2 players and teams. Players are also able to spectate games in virtual reality (VR) with up to 15 others, which was added in an update in July 2016. The update also added a hero showcase mode, which allows players to see all of the heroes and their cosmetics full-size in virtual reality.
 
As part of a plan to develop Dota 2 into a social network, Newell announced in April 2012 that the game would be free-to-play, and that community contributions would be a cornerstone feature. Instead, revenue is generated through the “Dota Store”, which offers for-purchase cosmetic virtual goods, such as custom armor and weapons for their heroes. It was also announced that the full roster of heroes would be available at launch for free. Until the game’s official release in 2013, players were able to purchase an early access bundle, which included a digital copy of Dota 2 and several cosmetic items. Included as optional downloadable content (DLC), the Dota 2 Workshop Tools are a set of Source 2 software development kit (SDK) tools that allow content creators to create new cosmetics for the heroes themselves, as well as custom game modes, maps, and botscripts. Highly rated cosmetics, through the Steam Workshop, are available in the in-game store if they are accepted by Valve. This model was fashioned after Valve’s Team Fortress 2, which had earned Workshop designers of cosmetic items of that game over $3.5 million by June 2011. Newell revealed that the average Steam Workshop contributor for Dota 2 and Team Fortess 2 made approximately $15,000 from their creations in 2013. By 2015, sales of Dota 2 virtual goods had earned Valve over $238 million in revenue, according to the digital game market research group SuperData. In 2016, Valve introduced the “Custom Game Pass” option for creators of custom game modes, which allows them to be funded by way of microtransactions by adding exclusive features, content, and other changes to their game mode for players who buy it.
 
 

League of Legends

The other game that came from the group that worked on the DotA mod, was made by Riot Games.
 
Riot Games’ founders, Brandon “Ryze” Beck and Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill, became friends while business students and roommates at the University of Southern California, where they bonded over video games. Beck and Merrill were frustrated because they felt game developers were not listening to fans. Developers, they believed, moved from game to game too quickly, leaving their passionate communities behind. During their time playing video games together, Beck and Merrill created an idea for a company that continually introduced new features to its games. Rather than follow the video game industry formula of releasing game after game, Beck and Merrill sought to create a company that was player-focused and made games that constantly evolved. They drew inspiration from Asian video game designers who were offering games for free, yet charging for additional perks. The founders thought it would be unfair to create a pay-to-win game, so they decided Riot Games would not sell upgrades that other players receive through skill. Rather, the additional perks would include cosmetic improvements such as new clothes that changed characters’ appearance, so players can personalize their experience.
 
The idea of a spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients was that it would be its own stand-alone game with its own engine, rather than another mod of Warcraft III, began to materialize at the end of 2005. League of Legends was born “when a couple of very active DotA community members believed that the gameplay was so much fun and so innovative that it represented the spawning of a new genre and deserved to be its own professional game with significantly enhanced features and around-game services.”
 
Riot Games officially opened its office in September 2006, and, as of 2013, has over 1,000 people working on League of Legends. According to Marc Merrill, when creating the various champions in the game, instead of leaving the champion creation to just a few people, they decided to open up the champion creation process to everyone in the company based on a template where they could vote on which champions made it into the game.
 
League of Legends was released on October 27, 2009. Riot Games self-publishes and operates the game and all of its customer service aspects in North America. Riot Games has signed deals regarding the distribution of League of Legends in Asia, Europe, and North America. By July 2013, the game has been released and was distributed in Australia, the United States, Canada, Europe, Philippines, and South Korea.
 
In November 2011, Riot Games stated that League of Legends had accumulated 32.5 million players, 11.5 million of whom play monthly, of which 4.2 million play daily. Riot said in October 2013, the game had 12 million active daily players and 32 million active monthly players. In January 2014, the game had 27 million active daily players, 7.5 million concurrent players at peak times, and 67 million active monthly players. Global concurrent users online peaked at over 5 million players as of March 2013.
 
By March 2012, League of Legends had become the #1 title in Korean PC cafés. League continues to be popular in Korea; it remained the #1 game until the middle of 2016, when Overwatch displaced it, and is still the #2 game. In July 2012, Xfire released a report stating that League of Legends was the most played PC game in North America and Europe, with 1.3 billion hours logged by players in those regions between July 2011 and June 2012. League of Legends is also popular in the Philippines, and was the second most played game in internet cafés in the country in June 2013, behind Defense of the Ancients. In Taiwan, it is estimated that almost five percent of the entire population had played the game by 2016, with almost a million players subscribed on the server.
 
 
Defense of the Ancients, although a mod to an existing game, was such a good idea for a game, it spawned two of the largest game franchises. Showing how people react to gameplay, rather than a flashy experience.
 

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Like when we covered God of War back on PS2J 196. I decided this would be a good opportunity to do another episode that covers the lore of a video game franchise, rather than the development. And being this special episode falls on Halloween, get ready for a spooky episode.

With a total of 22 games released, this franchise has been infecting gamers for 21 years. At this point, it would be fare to call it a Biohazard. You should think of mixing your green and red herbs, we’re about to learn the story behind Resident Evil.

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Interplay Interactive started with intentions of making a sequel to Wasteland. Instead, they went in a new direction and created a whole new world. When they couldn’t afford to continue on their own, it only grew larger after they ended up selling the rights to Bethesda Softworks. It’s time to leave the vault and learn the history of the Fallout games.

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This history episode is about the lore carved out by Kratos, in the God of War franchise.

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Heroes of the Storm’s new event is out and we chat about it. Youtube is taking less control away from its users. Josh suggests a game we talked about a while ago, Alan recommends a movie thats out in theatres.

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The evolution of midway games of the 1920’s, these have been a staple to gamers for decades. Seeing a rise and fall into an eventual niche market, these games are always a treat for gamers young and old. This is the history of arcade cabinets.

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We talk about the new world of streaming services. Josh just picked up Sonic Mania, and is a bit crazy about it.

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Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, this science fiction/fantasy franchise, was created as a last ditch effort. The success of this game was the difference between Sakaguchi quitting the gaming industry then returning to university, and even the company producing the game was teetering on bankruptcy. This is the history of the franchise that saved Square, and has made its mark on gaming, this is Final Fantasy.

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