Shacknews - Asif Khan

Twitch has announced a major update to their mobile app. A whole bunch of new features are coming to Twitch for Android and iOS.

The app's new design will focus on making it easier for users to watch the streams they love while at the same time improving discovery of new channels. Swipe to Change, Instant Playlists, Language Ranking, and improved Notifications are UI improvements noted on the official Twitch mobile app blog. Other awesome features being added are a dark mode for when you are watching late night streams and profiles. The biggest new feature in my opinion is the ability to do an in real life (IRL) stream directly from the Twitch mobile app. 

This news comes on the back of sub buttons being added to Twitch Affiliate channels

via GIPHY

Shacknews - John Keefer

Cheating in online games is a foregone conclusion these days as players try to beat the system for better ranks and gear. In turn, devs continue to ban cheaters and update the game's anti-cheat measures. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which has already sold four million units and made $100 million, has faced the same issue, as it has already banned 25,000 cheaters in the last three months. 

"This is an ongoing battle, but one we are committed to fighting," developer Bluehole Studios said in a blog post on Steam. "[We] work daily with BattlEye to add new protections and detections for cheats appearing on the market."

The dev team also has continued to improve server performance for the game, and says it will continue to monitor progress. "Our data science team is spending much of their time preparing reports on how you play the game. We plan to make continuing changes to improve play area size & speed, loot balance, and gunplay properties in order to provide an exciting and fair gaming experience to everyone."

Yesterday, it was announced that loot changes would be coming in today's update. Here are the full patch notes for update 3:

Early Access - Month 3 - Patch NotesServer Performance

  • Improved network performance by reducing the amount of data being sent from the server to the client.
  • Reduced network lag by preventing a large amount of data being sent from the server to the client simultaneously.

Client Performance

  • Fixed an issue of frame drop when other characters were around by optimizing nearby characters.
  • Fixed an issue of frame drop when vehicles were around by optimizing vehicles.
  • Optimized the starting airplane and Care Package airplanes.
  • Improved rendering performance of weapons from far-off.
  • Made improvements to the weapon animations.
  • Optimized many in-game effects, including the red zone bombing effect.
  • Improved many UI features.
  • Improved features regarding rainy weather.

New Items

  • Added Groza. Groza is an AR chambered for 7.62mm ammo, and can only be acquired in Care Packages.
  • Added P18C. P18C is a pistol chambered for 9mm ammo with a full auto fire-mode.

Gameplay

  • Vector and UMP now support burst mode.
  • You can now pick up items while moving. The interaction animation will not force you to stop anymore, but make you walk slowly.
  • You may interact with doors, items, or vehicles while reloading. Reloads will be canceled with such interactions.
  • The screen will be gradually desaturated based on remaining health during the REVIVE state.
  • Blood effect does not appear during the REVIVE state anymore.
  • Adjusted kill count system in Duo and Squad modes. A person knocking an opponent out will receive a kill count regardless of the actual killer.
  • Adjusted F key (interaction) to prioritize the REVIVE action in certain cases
  • You can now pull out pistols faster.
  • Fire mode can no longer be switched during reload.
  • Adjusted the play area to spawn more evenly within a circle, so that the play area does not appear in the center so frequently.
  • Adjusted default quantity to be selected at 1 when pressing CTRL key at inventory to partially drop or pick up items.
  • Adjusted motorcycle and motorcycle with sidecar to move more smoothly.
  • You can no longer switch to/from prone while picking up items.
  • Red Dot Sight is now attachable to pistols, except for the revolver.
  • Increased the recoil on UMP.

World

  • Added two new weather settings: Sunset and Clear Skies.
  • Added destructible cabins.
  • Added new animation for when a character is at the speed of taking fall damage.

Items & Vehicles

  • Adjusted vehicles to face random directions at spawn.
  • Adjusted loot balance for certain items.
  • VSS will no longer be found in Care Packages. It will remain to be spawned in the map.
  • At a low probability, you will be able to acquire AR Silencers, SR Silencers, and 4x Scopes in Care Packages.
  • Spawn rate of UMP was slightly decreased.
  • Spawn rate of UZI was slightly increased.
  • Level 1 Helmet was being spawned at a much higher rate than the Level 1 Vest, and the spawn rate was adjusted so that both items will be spawned at a similar rate.
  • Increased spawn rate of items in regions and buildings with relatively low spawn rate.
  • Changed the names of certain weapon attachments.
  • Adjusted the spawn time of vehicles and speedboats, so that they can be seen from farther away.
  • Improved the starting airplanes.
  • Cargo door opens when participants get ejected from the airplane. 
  • Optimized lighting inside and outside of the airplane.

UI

  • Adjusted the direction of teammate icons to the direction the teammate faces.
  • Added teammate list on World Map.
  • Improved character’s recoil animation.
  • Removed death marks of teammates after a certain period of time or distance away from the place of death.
  • Added three new languages: Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue when the voice chat volume blasted momentarily after getting on an airplane.
  • Fixed an issue where the character was not at the center of the screen while on a parachute.
  • If you reload into game while in a parachute, you will still be in the parachute.
  • Prevented users from removing outer walls of buildings by deleting certain files.
  • Partially fixed a bug that caused a character to be stuck in terrain.
  • Fixed a bug that caused a character to be misplaced after getting in a vehicle.
  • Fixed a bug that caused effects to look identical underwater and outside of water.
  • Fixed a bug that caused a character to make an interaction motion trying to pick up an item when there is no inventory space.
  • Fixed a client crash that occurred when fences were destroyed.
  • Fixed an issue of invisible fences even after destruction.
Shacknews - John Keefer

Super Mario Odyssey was widely acclaimed at E3 2017 for great gameplay and fun implementation. The E3 Game Critics obviously felt that way as well, giving the action/adventure from Nintendo three awards. Nintendo also was the top publisher with four wins.

Coming in second was Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, taking best Original and best Strategy game. Ubisoft had topped the list with 14 nominations, but only ended up with two awards, both for Mario + Rabbids.

Here is the complete list:

Best of Show

  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo for Nintendo Switch)

Best Original Game

  • Mario + Rabbids Battle Kingdom (Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft for Nintendo Switch)

Best Console Game

  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo for Nintendo Switch)

Best VR Game

  • Lone Echo (Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studios for PC)

Best PC Game

  • Destiny 2 (Bungie/Activision)

Best Handheld Game

  • Metroid: Samus Returns (MercurySteam/Nintendo for Nintendo 3DS)

Best Hardware/Peripheral

  • Xbox One X (Microsoft)

Best Action Game

  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine Games/Bethesda for PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo for Nintendo Switch)

Best Role Playing Game

  • Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Level 5/Bandai Namco Entertainment for PC, PS4)

Best Racing Game

  • Forza Motorsport 7 (Turn 10/Microsoft Studios for PC, Xbox One)

Best Fighting Game

  • Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works/Bandai Namco Entertainment for PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Best Sports Game

  • FIFA 18 (EA Canada/EA for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

Best Strategy Game

  • Mario + Rabbids Battle Kingdom (Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft Milan/Ubisoft for Nintendo Switch)

Best Family Game

  • Hidden Agenda (Supermassive Games/Sony Interactive Ent for PS4)

Best Online Multiplayer

  • Star Wars Battlefront II (EA DICE/Motive/Criterion/Electronic Arts for PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Best Independent Game

  • The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna Interactive for PC, Xbox One)
Shacknews - Greg Burke

This week on Shack's Arcade Corner, we take a look at Donkey Kong 3. The arcade cabinet was developed and published by Nintendo in 1983. The game introduced a new protagonist named Stanley, a greenhouse owner. This was a step away from our favorite plumber Mario, but the game was still super fun. Players had to save Stanley's plants by spraying bug spray at Donkey Kong to push him through the ceiling. It actually borrowed some of its gameplay mechanics from another Nintendo arcade game, Space Firebird. Donkey Kong 3 had great sound effects and music. The arcade cabinet had that classic Nintendo style. Check out this video to learn more about Donkey Kong 3.

For more videos, including gameplay and interviews, visit the Shacknews and GamerHub.tv YouTube channels.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Shack's Arcade Corner, please let us know in the comments section or tweet @shacknews & @GregBurke85 with #ArcadeCorner. 

In case you missed any of the over 100 episodes, check out our Shack's Arcade Corner YouTube Playlist.

Shacknews - David Craddock

This summer’s X Games event will play host to the FACEIT Rocket League Invitational, a $75,000 tournament that will be broadcast live on ESPN3. According to a report published by ESPN, Psyonix’s game will be a part of the extreme sports event’s X Fest, the event’s entertainment- and gaming-focused division which specializes in events such as interactive BMX and skateboarding.

“The X Games and ESPN have done a great job of bringing attention to nontraditional sports over the years," said Josh Watson, operations manager of Psyonix’s eSports division, in a press release. "Adding eSports and Rocket League to that lineup is something we at Psyonix are very excited about. We can't wait to bring this competition to a whole new audience.”

Two new audiences, in fact. Earlier this month, NBC Sports announced a two-on-two Rocket League tournament with a $100,000 prize pool. The event will be televised on NBC Sports from August 5 through August 27. Both the X Games competition and the NBC broadcast deal came together as a result of collaboration between Psyonix and FACEIT, an eSports platform.

In other Rocket League news, Psyonix announced that the game will launch on Switch this coming holiday. The announcement came during Nintendo’s E3 Direct stream, and followed months of speculation and uncertainty stemming from Rocket League’s community as well as its developer.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Following the precedent set by last year’s hot-ticket NES and Famicom Classic mini consoles, Nintendo will release the Super NES Classic in the west and its counterpart, Super Famicom Mini, in the east. Each contains 21 games. Most are shared between the two boxes, but each will receive five unique titles. Street Fighter 2 Turbo, EarthBound, Super Punch-Out!!, Super Castlevania 4, and Kirby’s Dream Course will grace the SNES Classic, while the Super Famicom Mini swaps those for Super Street Fighter 2, Tetris Attack, The Legend of Mystical Ninja, Super Soccer, and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.         

What both peewee consoles share in common, besides 16 overlapping games, is quality. Every game is a blue chipper, responsible for inventing, refining, and popularizing visual styles and gameplay systems still in vogue today. And by virtue of being bona fide classics, each game is a gold mine of history.

Below, you’ll find nuggets and tidbits related to the Super Famicom Mini’s five exclusive games. Dig even deeper by reading up on 21 facts you might not know about the games on the SNES Classic, including those shared between both consoles.

Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem

Source: Fire Emblem Wikia

Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem was the first Super Famicom game stored on a 24-megabit cartridge and the third game in the series. Everything else about Mystery of the Emblem comes in twos. Two directors, two producers, and two designers shepherded the project. Two sound designers worked on the game’s audio and soundtrack. Even the story is told across two acts, called “Books.”

Perhaps enticed by the 24-bit cartridge’s increased graphical and storage capabilities, Intelligent Systems crammed Books I and II with content. So much content, in fact, that both parts couldn’t fit on a single cartridge. The studio toyed with the idea of splitting the game into two releases. Instead, a good deal of content from Book I was left on the cutting-room floor to make room for the second part.

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyushutsu Emaki)

Source: Jim McCullough

Konami’s The Legend of the Mystical Ninja encompasses tangible and intangible facets of Japanese culture. The game’s Warlock Zone I level takes place in the city of Edo, a real location known as the epicenter of Japanese trade and politics. During the 19th century, Japan renamed the city Tokyo.

Many of the game’s enemies are based on Japanese mythology. The shibito (reanimated corpses, like zombies, but possessing a modicum of intelligence) are blue-skinned monsters garbed in white. The color of the shibito’s garb dates traces back to an ancient custom dictating that the dead be buried in white.

Super Soccer

Source: Uproxx

Super Soccer was hardly a best seller in the United States, but you might have paid a quarter to play it if you happened across any Nintendo Super System arcade machines. Loaded with games that players selected via a menu, Nintendo Super System cabinets featured a mix of titles that were ported to Super NES and Super Famicom, since the coin-op cabinet ran on identical hardware.

Some, such as Super Mario World and Contra 3, attained legendary status almost immediately upon release. Others, such as Super Soccer and Ultimate Tennis, never burned up sales charts, but testified to the variety of games on the Super NES and Super Famicom.

Tetris Attack

Source: Destructoid

Tetris has been released in myriad incarnations over the years, but Tetris Attack is perhaps the most unorthodox of the bunch, and with good reason. One in a long line of games that started as one design only to be retooled along the way, Tetris Attack was released in Japan as Panel de Pon. Tetris had become a cash cow for Nintendo, leading the console manufacturer to convince Henk Rogers, CEO of The Tetris Company, to brand Panel de Pon with the Tetris name for a western release.

Panel de Pon’s characters and iconography were changed to characters from Yoshi’s Island, deemed more recognizable to western players. Its gameplay, quite different from standard Tetris, remained unchanged. Instead of moving blocks rain down from above to clear horizontal lines, Tetris Attack saw a grid of colored squares rising from the bottom. A different symbol adorned each square, and players had to match three of a kind to clear vertical or horizontal lines by swapping adjacent blocks.

Rogers has admitted that the deal holds a high spot on his list of career regrets. “When Nintendo came to us and said, ‘We would like to take this Japanese game called Panel de Pon, and rename it Tetris Attack,’ I’m saying, ‘It’s not Tetris,’” he explained in a 2009 interview. “But my partner’s saying, ‘But it is money!’ So, uh, so, we, I, reluctantly agreed. In retrospect, we should never have done that. I don’t think that’s a good idea. It dilutes the brand. It’s like naming another cartoon character Mickey Mouse just ‘cause you need the money. It’s just a bad idea. So I wouldn’t do that again.”

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

Source: Game Spy

Guile may hail from the US of A, but he was designed by Japanese artists. Chiseled with muscles stacked on muscles, and vain—judging by the fact that he runs a comb through his blonde hair as a post-match celebration—Guile is a veritable caricature that oozes machismo not unlike ‘80s action heroes such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal.

DeeJay, one of the four new challengers who debuted in Super Street Fighter 2, isn’t American, but he was the only SSF2 character to be made by one. Capcom USA designer James Goddard became the first American to create a street fighter when he came up with the Jamaican fighter’s design and move set. Goddard based DeeJay on a particular American rather than the amalgam of American stereotypes that formed Guile.

“I had just seen 'King of the Kickboxers' with Billy Blanks and I just thought that a really kick-ass black character would be awesome, instead of someone who was more negative, which is what you tended to see from the Japanese back in those days,” Goddard told GameSpy in an archived interview. “I mean, you have to remember, this was Billy Blanks pre-'Tae Bo.' He was so bad-ass, and I mean, he still is, but who would've thought that he'd end up in yellow tights with a bunch of ladies doing kickboxing moves and losing weight? Good thing that wasn't out yet or I don't think [Capcom Japan’s managers] would've went for DeeJay.”

Shacknews - John Keefer

Things have been a bit quiet with the Dragon Age series since Inquisition hit is late 2014. But good news, fans. Developer BioWare assures us that they have not forgotten the popular franchise.

"Something is happening with Dragon Age,"  Creative Director Mike Laidlaw said in a podcast episode of The 1099 (via The Escapist). Yeah, that's pretty light on specifics, and a bit of a "no duh" comment, but he added that the team is "hiring a lot of people." Whether that translates into a sequel, a change in direction or even a mobile game remains to be seen, so take it for what it's worth.

"There are other things in process but unfortunately I can't talk about them until they are realized. I am pretty excited about a few of them. Things continue apace," he said. "As I've jokingly said, I am the creative director for the Dragon Age franchise and they haven't fired me yet."

The Mass Effect series was put on hiatus in May, with BioWare Montreal being downgraded to a support role. BioWare Austin continues to work on the Star Wars series, primarily Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. That leaves BioWare Edmonton at the front of new development with its Anthem IP and the Dragon Age series.

One thing is for certain: BioWare will continue to pump out content, hopefully at the quality level fans were accustomed to before Mass Effect: Andromeda. 

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Hearthstone is issuing a change to one of its new Quest cards, aimed at better balancing. The Rogue Quest, the Caverns Below, will require one more copied minion to be played to activate its effect.

Quest cards for each class were added with the most recent expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, but none of them have stuck to the top of Hearthstone tier lists like the Rogue's. The Quest, which activates after you've played four minions with the same name, rewards you by changing all of your minions to 5/5s. Hearthstone being what it is, the Internet has more-or-less refined it to perfection, giving a smooth entry point to finish the quest and plenty of cheap overpowered minions once the reward is cashed in.

In a statement, Blizzard said that the deck wasn't out of balance with other popular decks, but felt the change was warranted because it was pushing out slower, control-oriented decks. With this change, it will be that much harder to fulfill the Quest requirement, slowing down the deck's win condition enough to give control decks a fighting chance. Blizzard also noted this is important ground-laying for the next expansion.

Quest Rogue blew up quickly when Un'Goro went live, and Blizzard even recognized in an interview with Shacknews that it was just on the edge of being overpowered. A month later, we concluded it wasn't strictly overpowered. Instead, it was the deck the community loves to hate because it just feels cheap when you're on the losing side. Blizzard has made changes in the past based more on feel than strict numerical balance, so this is of a type.

The team also teased a Q&A session coming up this Friday, June 30 at 10:30 AM PT. Ben Brode and Mike Donais will be answering questions on the game's official Twitch channel, so you can get in your question now by tweeting at @PlayHearthstone with the hashtag #QA.

Shacknews - John Keefer

DDoS attacks unfortunately have become a rather common occurrence, and another one has cropped up that is affecting Ubisoft servers and latency.

"We’re currently monitoring a DDoS attack, which may impact latency or connections to our games," Ubisoft said in a tweet from it's official support account. It's official forums added that the attack is "impacting a number of our online services for Rainbow Six Siege, For Honor, Steep, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Uplay PC, and other online titles." It said it was working quickly to resolve the issue and minimize players problems.

Earlier this month, Ubisoft also reported similar server issues, although it was never confirmed if the "degradation" was because of a DDoS attack.

Shacknews - John Keefer

DDoS attacks unfortunately have become a rather common occurrence, and another one has cropped up that is affecting Ubisoft servers and latency.

"We’re currently monitoring a DDoS attack, which may impact latency or connections to our games," Ubisoft said in a tweet from it's official support account. It's official forums added that the attack is "impacting a number of our online services for Rainbow Six Siege, For Honor, Steep, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Uplay PC, and other online titles." It said it was working quickly to resolve the issue and minimize players problems.

Earlier this month, Ubisoft also reported similar server issues, although it was never confirmed if the "degradation" was because of a DDoS attack.

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